Propan-2-Ol Formula: Structure, Uses, Properties, Reactions

Propan-2-ol, also known as isopropanol or isopropyl alcohol, is a chemical compound with the molecular formula C3H8O.

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A colorless, flammable liquid with disinfectant properties, propane-2-Ol is commonly used as an antiseptic. It is derived from 1-propanol and is used in pharmaceuticals, window cleaners, dye solutions, perfumes, cosmetics, antifreeze, lacquer formulations, and soaps. As rubbing alcohol, propane-2-Ol is sold at 70% aqueous concentration. As the temperature drops, propane-2-Ol becomes viscous and freezes at −89 °C.

Structure of Propan-2-ol

As an isopropyl group linked to a hydroxyl group, it is the simplest secondary alcohol.

Propan-2-Ol Formula

Propan 2 ol is a secondary alcohol formed by combining an isopropyl and hydroxyl groups. It shares similarities with other molecules, such as 1 propanol and ethyl methyl ether. With a molecular weight of 60.096 g mol-1, it has a density of 0.786 g/cm3 at room temperature. Its boiling point is 82.6°C and its melting point is -89°C.

Properties of Propan-2-Ol

Chemical formula C3H8O
Molecular weight 60.096 g·mol−1
Density 0.786 g/cm3 (20 °C)
Chemical names s-Propanol, 2-Propanol, Isopropanol[1]

Rubbing alcohol, iPrOH, sec-Propyl alcohol, i-PrOH, Dimethyl carbinol

Boiling point 82.6 °C
Melting point −89 °C

Preparation of Propan-2-Ol

Biological process

Diabetic ketoacidosis produces very little propan-2-ol.


By adding water or sulfuric acid to propene, these processes give primarily propane-2-ol, a secondary alcohol, rather than 1-propanol, a primary alcohol.

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Chemical Properties and Reactions


Chromic acid (H2CrO4) oxidizes propan-2-ol to form acetone.

(CH3)2CHOH ⇢ (CH3)2CO + H2

Dehydration – 

Using concentrated H2SO4 at 443K or H3PO4 at 440K, propane-2-ol is dehydrated, and propene and water are produced.

(CH3)2CHOH ⇢ CH2=CH-CH3 + H2O


Phosphorus tribromide is used to produce 2-bromopropane.

(CH3)2CHOH ⇢ (CH3)2CHBr 

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Uses of Propanols

Because of its miscibility, strong flammability, and effects on the human body, propanol has a wide range of applications. These include:

As a Solvent

The majority of propanols are used as solvents and intermediates. In printing inks, particularly flexographic inks, propanol is used as a solvent. It is also added to floor polishes and metal degreasers in the cleaning industry. Adhesive makers use propanol as an extra solvent.

The coating industry uses propanol as a semi-volatile alcohol to improve drying properties, such as in alkyd resin paints, baking finishes, and electrodeposition paints.

There are also many other uses for propane including deicing fluids, extracting agents, and entrainers in azeotropic distillations. Propanol readily produces esters and ethers, the majority of which are highly valuable.

In addition to being used as a solvent, propanol is also used to produce other solvents such as antifreezes, lacquer formulations, soaps, dye solutions, window cleaning agents, and other compounds. In addition to making degreasing fluids, adhesives, and window cleaners, propanol is also used as an intermediate in the synthesis of halides, propyl amines, and propyl acetate.

Medicinal Uses 

Also, propan-2-ol is used in a variety of pharmaceuticals. It is the main component in rubbing alcohol bottles. Additionally, it is an antiseptic. Propan-2-ol can also be found in hand sanitizer solutions or wipes. As an alternative to ethanol, propanol is frequently used in inhalant products, especially nebulizers.

It is used as a pain reliever since n-propyl alcohol can cause modest central nervous system depression.

The study published in Chem Pharm Bull in Tokyo in 1980 found that propanol triples the activity of human erythrocyte acid phosphatase (Eapase). In comparison to eapase, n-propanol activated human prostatic acid phosphatase (papase) less.

Propanol Tablet treats, controls, prevents, and improves supraventricular arrhythmias, ventricular tachycardias, digitalis-induced tachyarrhythmias, resistant tachyarrhythmias caused by excessive catecholamine activity during anaesthesia, and other conditions.

A number of foods and non-alcoholic beverages contain propanol in trace amounts as a volatile flavour.

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Acetate is a common ingredient in cosmetics because of its moderate corrosive properties, which makes it an effective remover for acrylic nails and fingernail polish. It is also used in soaps, hair care products, perfumes, hand sanitizers, and moisturisers because of its moderate corrosive qualities.


In addition to being highly flammable, propanol has a fire hazard rating of 2 and is also an excellent fuel for internal combustion engines due to its high octane number. However, the manufacture of propanol is too expensive to make it a popular fuel, therefore it is not often utilised for this purpose. When propane is used as a fuel, it has an anti-knock index (AKI) of 108 and a research octane number (RON) of 118.

Propanol is primarily used as a solvent, but other applications and uses of propanol are growing around the globe. Furthermore, propanol is less hazardous to use than other synthetic alcohols.

Propan-2-Ol Formula FAQs

Q1. What is the chemical formula of propan-2-ol?

Ans. The chemical formula of propan-2-ol (isopropanol) is C3H8O. It consists of three carbon atoms (C), eight hydrogen atoms (H), and one oxygen atom (O).

Q2. What is the common name for propan-2-ol?

Ans. Propan-2-ol is commonly known as isopropanol or isopropyl alcohol. It is widely used as a disinfectant, solvent, and in various industrial applications.

Q3. What are the physical properties of propan-2-ol?

Ans. Propan-2-ol is a colorless liquid with a strong odor. It has a melting point of -89°C (-128°F), a boiling point of 82.6°C (180.7°F), and a density of approximately 0.785 g/cm³. It is miscible with water and many organic solvents.

Q4. What are the uses of propan-2-ol?

Ans. Propan-2-ol, also known as isopropanol or isopropyl alcohol, is commonly used for various purposes, including as a disinfectant and antiseptic for cleaning and sanitizing surfaces, skin, and medical equipment. It is also employed as a solvent in industries such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and cleaning products. Additionally, it has applications in laboratory settings for equipment cleaning and as a fuel additive in some cases.

Q5. Is propane-2-ol safe to use?

Ans. Propan-2-ol is generally safe when used as directed. However, it is flammable, and its vapors can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. It should be used in well-ventilated areas, and precautions should be taken to avoid inhalation and skin contact. It should not be ingested or applied to open wounds when used as a disinfectant or antiseptic. Always follow safety guidelines and product instructions when using propan-2-ol.

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