Methanol

MethanolMethanol

What Is Methanol?

Methanol is the simplest alcohol: a methyl group linked to a hydroxyl group. Light, colorless, highly flammable, and volatile, it is commonly used in scientific research as a solvent, de-colorant, or denaturant.

Although methanol was used for embalming by ancient Egyptians, pure methanol was isolated by Robert Boyle in 1661 and its composition determined by Jean-Baptiste Dumas and Eugene Peligot in 1834.

Available in a variety of grades and percentages, methanol is also used as a reagent in the synthesis of chemicals such as acetic acid or formaldehyde.

Methanol is used:

  • In many analytical wet lab techniques, including chromatrography, spectometry, and chemical synthesis 
  • To manufacture paints, adhesives, foams, and textiles 
  • For fuel and to make biodiesel 
  • As a denaturant for industrially produced ethanol 

Although similar to ethanol (drinking alcohol) in appearance and odor, methanol is toxic to the nervous system. Methanol that is ingested, inhaled, or otherwise absorbed can lead to blindness, coma, and death.

When working with methanol, the environment must be properly ventilated, and personal protective equipment (PPE) must be used to protect the eyes, face, and skin. Methanol containers should not be left open to the air and closed containers should be stored in dry, cool, and well-ventilated locations. To extinguish methanol fires, use dry chemical, carbon dioxide, water spray, or alcohol-resistant foam.

Synonyms: Methyl alcohol, wood alcohol, carbinol, wood spirit, 67-56-1, methylol, methyl hydroxide, MeOH, methyl hydrate

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    Physical and Chemical Properties

    PropertyValue  

    Property

    Molecular Weight
    Value
    32.04 g/mol
     
     
     
     

    Property

    Molar Mass
    Value
    32.042 g/mol
     
     
     
     

    Property

    Density
    Value
    0.791 g/mL at 25ºC
     
     
     
     

    Property

    Boiling Point
    Value
    64.7ºC
     
     
     
     

    Property

    Melting Point
    Value
    -98ºC
     
     
     
     

    Property

    Flash Point
    Value
    11.1ºC
     
     
     
     

    Property

    Viscosity
    Value
    0.544 cP at 25ºC
     
     
     
     

    Property

    Dielectric Constant
    Value
    33.00 at 20ºC
     
     
     
     

    Property

    Dipole Moment
    Value
    1.7
     
     
     
     

    Property

    UV Cutoff
    Value
    210 nm
     
     
     
     

    Property

    Refractive Index
    Value
    1.329 at 20ºC
     
     
     
     

    Property

    Vapor Density
    Value
    1.11 (vs. air)
     
     
     
     

    Property

    Exact Mass
    Value
    32.026215 g/mol
     
     
     
     

    Property

    Monoisotopic Mass
    Value
    32.026215 g/mol
     
     
     
     

    Uses

    Methanol is highly versatile and a critical component of olefins, formaldehyde, and hundreds of other chemicals.

    About 40 percent of the methanol produced worldwide is used to make formaldehyde, which is ultimately used in plastics, plywood, paints, explosives, textiles, and many other products.

    Methanol is a traditional denaturant for ethanol and used as a solvent, antifreeze ingredient, and windshield washer fluid. It is also used in automotive and marine fuel, DME and bioDME, biodiesel, fuel cells, electricity, and boilers and cookstoves.


    Designations and Grades

    PropertyValue  

    Property

    CAS Number
    Value
    67-56-1
     
     
     
     

    Property

    MDL Number
    Value
    MFCD00004595
     
     
     
     

    Property

    RIDAD /UN Number
    Value
    UN 1230 3/PG 2
     
     
     
     

    Property

    Beilstein Registry
    Value
    1098229
     
     
     
     

    Property

    EG/EC Number
    Value
    2006596
     
     
     
     

    Property

    NSC Number
    Value
    85232
     
     
     
     

    Property

    ICSC Number
    Value
    0057
     
     
     
     

    Property

    RTECS Number
    Value
    85232
     
     
     
     

    Grades

    ACS, ACS Reagent, Certified ACS

    Anhydrous/Dry/Extra Dry

    Biochemical

    Electronic/Semiconductor

    GC, Capillary GC

    GC Gradient

    GC/Pesticide Residue

    Histological

    HPLC Gradient

    HPLC/UHPLC

    Laboratory/Technical

    LC-MS, Ultra LC-MS

    Low Water

    Mobile Phase

    NF/USP

    Purge and Trap

    Sequencing

    Spectrophotometry

    Solvent Blends

    Trace Metals


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