Some Commercially Important Alcohols And Phenols

Alcohol Phenol And Ether of Class 12

(i) METHANOL: Methanol is also called wood spirit since originally it was obtained by destructive distillation of wood. Now a days it is prepared by catalytic hydrogenation of water gas.

Some Commercially Important Alcohols And Phenols

Uses: It is largely used as:

  1. A solvent for paints, varnishes and celluloids.
  2. For manufacturing of formaldehyde.
  3. For denaturing ethyl alcohol, i.e. to make it unfit for drinking purpose. Denatured alcohols is called methylated spirit.
  4. In manufacture of performs and drugs.

Ethanol: Ethanol is mainly prepared by hydration of ethene formation of carbohydrates gives only 95% alcohol the rest being water. This is called rectified spirit.

Uses: It is largely used as an

  1. Antiseptic.
  2. Solvent for paints, lacquers, varnishes, dyes, cosmetics, perfumes, tinctures, cough syrups etc.
  3. As an important starting material for manufacture of ether, chloroform, Iodoform etc.
  4. As an important beverages.
  5. As power alcohol a mixture of 20% absolute alcohol and 80% petrol (gasoline) with benzene or tetralin as a cosolvent.
  6. As an antifreeze in automobile radiators.

Absolute alcohol: Absolute alcohols is 100% ethanol prepared from rectified spirit 95.5% alcohol as follows:

In laboratory absolute alcohol is prepared by keeping the rectified spirit in contact with calculated amount of quick lime for few hours and then refluxing and distilling it.



  • As an antiseptic and disinfectant in soaps and lotions.
  • In manufacture of drugs like, aspirin, salol, salicylic acid, phenacetin.
  • In the manufacture of bakelite.
  • In the manufacture of picric acid, phenolphthalein, azo dyes.
  • As a preservative for ink.
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