Isopropyl Alcohol

What is it best known for as a substance

  1. Solvent: Isopropanol can dissolve several non-polar compounds. In addition, as it evaporates quickly and leaves virtually no traces, it’s very popular as a cleaning fluid in electronics. In this case, it can be used to clean circuit boards to lasers in optical disc drives. It also finds a myriad of applications around the house, from removing glue stains to polishing old vinyl records.
  2. Intermediate: This compound is used in many different types of reactions, including esterification to isopropyl acetate and production of sodium isopropylxanthate after reaction with sodium hydroxide and carbon disulphide. Isopropanol can also react with aluminium and titanium tetrachloride to generate aluminium and titanium isopropoxides. Isopropanol can also be used as a dihydrogen donor in transfer hydrogenations.
  3. Medical: A 60-70% solution is commonly used as a disinfectant or hand sanitiser. Somewhat counterintuitively, but a pure solution would not be as effective as a certain amount of water is necessary to open up the pore membranes in the bacteria and allow isopropanol to enter the cell.
  4. Fuel additives: This compound is also used to “dry” water present in fuel. Water can be very damaging especially in cold temperatures as it separates from fuel and freezes in the pipes with devastating consequences. Isopropanol is able to maintain water in a soluble form significantly reducing its risk.
  5. Laboratory: Isopropanol is used as a safer alternative to formaldehyde as a preserving solution. Typically, 70-90% solutions are used for this application. This compound is also used to extract DNA. As DNA is insoluble in alcohol, it will precipitate into a pellet.

WARNING

Isopropyl Alcohol is flamable. Keep away from heat, sparks and fire. External use only. Avoid contact with eyes and mouth.
Keep out of reach of children.
Use in well ventilated area.

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