Ethanol (ethyl alcool)


Physical properties

Ethanol is a colorless liquid with a pleasant odor and a burning taste. It is highly flammable. It boils at 78oC.


Ethanol is produced by fermentation of sugars. It can be prepared from ethene by adding water: $CH_2=CH_2$ $+$ $H_2O$ $\rightarrow$ $CH_3CH_2OH$

Natural state and occurence

Ethanol is found in foods and alcoholic beverages. The following video shows the effect of ethanol on animals who absorbed already fermentated marula fruit : (The Living Desert from James Algar)

Food percentage by volume

Bread: to 0.3% Vol . Apple juice: . up to 0.4% Vol Beer "alcohol": up to 0.5% Vol . Sauerkraut: 0.5% Vol . Grape juice: . 0,6% Vol Banana: up to 1% Vol .

Volume percentages of alcoholic beverages

Beer: light: 1-3.5% Vol . full: about 3-5% . strong alcoholic: 6-12% Vol . Wine: . 7-14% Vol Cider: . about 5.5-7% Vol Liquors: about 15-75% Vol . Spirit: about 30-80% Vol .


In the household

Ethanol is an excellent solvent, hence its use - as solvent for perfumes, deodorants and aerosols - as a cleaning agent for glass and smooth surfaces - as a stain remover - as antifreeze - as a food additive (Porto ..) - ss fuel

In medicine

- it is used as a disinfectant and antiseptic. (Optimum: 50 und 80%) - it is used as a solvent for many drugs - it is effective for treating insect bites - it is used intravenously to fight the methanol poisoning - there is no indication that it should warm up a person who is cold !!

In traffic

Ethanol is mixed with gasoline (often 5%) and this mixture is used as fuel.


Ethanol is a poison. The level of alcohol in the blood can be calculated (in humans) by the formula:

If $a$ is the age, $t$ the size in $cm$, $p$ the weight in $kg$: $m$ the alcool in $g$ Rate = $\frac{0,8}{(2,447-0,09516a+0,1074t + 0,3362p)}\cdot m$

Immediate symptoms of alcohol ingestion are: - Dizziness. - Stimulation or mood change, - Enlargement of peripheral blood vessels, resulting in a feeling of warmth. The combination of alcohol and drugs can be fatal! From a rate of 1 of alcohol in the blood is experienced dizziness, nausea, impaired orientation and increased aggressiveness. The lethal (fatal) dose (LD) is 3.0 to 4.0 Regular use can lead to addiction. Alcohol damages cells, especially the brain. Brain metabolism is greatly disturbed, resulting in problems with balance, vision and memory. Regular consumption damages nerves, liver, pancreas, heart and brain. Alcohol leads to infertility, both in women than in men. Regular use leads to vitamin deficiencies: lack of vitamin A, D and E (hence eg osteoporosis, anemia, sleep disorders, cardiac arrest). Because of the alcohol consumption of the mother, the fetus may incur damage to the brain, heart or various malformations. Cirrhosis of the liver is the most important cause of mortality due to alcohol, then comes pancreatitis and various cancers. The so-called benefits of moderate alcohol consumption do not exist !! Worse, such use may lead to cancer of the oral cavity, esophagus, trachea, liver, breast, stomach, intestine and rectum. The carcinogenicity of ethanol comes from acetaldehyde formed from ethanol in the liver. Ethanal turns into a substance called crotonaldehyde that attacks and modifies DNA.