UKPCS Science Chemistry: Ethanol #61

Oracle IAS, the best coaching institute for UPSC/IAS/PCS preparation in Dehradun brings to you UKPCS Science Chemistry (paper 6)- Ethanol.


Ethanol, also called alcohol, ethyl alcohol, and drinking alcohol, is the principal type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages. It is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid with a slight characteristic odor. Its chemical formula is C2H5-OH (an ethyl group linked to a hydroxyl group), and is often abbreviated as EtOH.Ethanol

Ethanol is mostly produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts, or by petrochemical processes. It is an addictive psychoactive drug (indeed one of the oldest and most common recreational drugs), causing a characteristic intoxication (“drunkenness”) and neurotoxicity when consumed in sufficient quantities. It is widely used as a solvent, as fuel, and as a feedstock for synthesis of other chemicals; as well as in many other minor uses.



Ethylene hydration

Ethanol for use as an industrial feedstock or solvent (sometimes referred to as synthetic ethanol) is made from petrochemical feed stocks, primarily by the acid-catalyzed hydration of ethylene:

C2H4 + H2O → CH3CH2OH

The catalyst is most commonly phosphoric acid



Ethanol in alcoholic beverages and fuel is produced by fermentation. Certain species of yeast (e.g., Saccharomyces cerevisiae) metabolize sugar, producing ethanol and carbon dioxide. The chemical equations below summarize the conversion:

C6H12O6 → 2 CH3CH2OH + 2 CO2

C12H22O11 + H2O → 4 CH3CH2OH + 4 CO2

To produce it from starchy materials such as cereal grains, the starch must first be converted into sugars.

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