Hm, I didn’t know that yesterday…

April 14, 2007

Cool Fact of the Day:

Denatured Alcohol signifies ethanol with methanol or other toxic impurities added.

In other words, don’t get your hands on the ethanol in chem lab. Unless you want to die [the body can only digest alcohols with 2 carbons, ie ethanol].

I always wondered what “denatured” meant. And always thought it had something to do with how proteins “denature” [ie lose their shape]. But that never made any sense. Because ethanol doesn’t really HAVE a mutable shape. In this case, the “denatured” means that it loses a property it would have in nature: namely, digestibility by humans.

And the reason for this process: denatured alcohol [also called methylated alcohol] has no tax on it. Whereas wines and spirits [ie ethanol] do. And they apparently make it a BITCH to distill denatured ethanol [ethanol and methanol, in solution, have the same boiling point]. Those tricky people!

Interesting. Well, now I know.

And so do you!

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2 Responses to “Hm, I didn’t know that yesterday…”

  1. Ed A. said

    Ahh. That makes much sense.

    But I think when you say this…

    And they apparently make it a BITCH to distill denatured ethanol [ethanol and methanol, in solution, have the same boiling point]. Those tricky people!

    … you mean something else… because if they have the same boiling point, then it’d be helluva-easy to make methlyated ethanol… It’d be hard to make pure one or the other.

  2. Mrs. O said

    https://new.fishersci.com/wps/portal/PRODUCTDETAIL?productId=667086&catalogId=29104&pos=4&catCode=RE_SC&fromCat=yes&keepSessionSearchOutPut=true

    (from Fisher Scientific)
    __________________________________
    Ethyl Alcohol Denatured
    Proprietary Solvent
    Application: Formulation:
    Ethyl Alcohol100 parts
    Ethyl Acetate1 part
    Methyl iso-Butyl Ketone1 part
    Aviation Gasoline1 part
    Methyl Hydrate, Ethanol, Denatured
    ___________________________________
    Yes, that reads aviation gasoline. Definitely do not try to drink the stuff!

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