Isopropyl Alcohol has three chemical formulas: C3H8O or C₃H₇OH or CH₃CHOHCH3. It is also recognized by other synonyms that include 2-propanol, dimethylcarbinol, and rubbing alcohol, as well as Isopropanol.
The colorless chemical compound is one of the most common members of the alcohol family of liquid organic compounds. It was first produced as commercial synthetic alcohol. It is easily synthesized by the reaction of propylene with sulfuric acid when followed by hydrolysis. It is used to manufacture acetone and its derivatives as well as a solvent. Because of its antibacterial properties, it is also used as a topical antiseptic.
Isopropanol has a flash point of 53 °F. Its vapors are heavier than air and are mildly irritating to the eyes, nose, and throat.
Isopropyl Alcohol is manufactured in various ways. The indirect hydration process is based on a two-step reaction of propylene and sulfuric acid. The acid-catalyzed direct hydration of propylene has three basic processes of commercial operation: (1) vapor-phase hydration over a fixed-bed catalyst of supported phosphoric acid or silica-supported tungsten oxide with zinc oxide promoter, (2) mixed vapor-liquid-phase hydration at low temperature and high pressure using a strongly acid cation exchange catalyst, and (3) liquid-phase hydration at high temperature and high pressure in the presence of a soluble tungsten catalyst.
Other processes for the manufacture of isopropyl alchohol include: liquid phase oxidation of propane, incidentally by the reductive condensation of acetone, and fermentation.
Isopropyl Alcohol is primarily manufactured for consumer use in cosmetics, skin and hair preparations, pharmaceuticals, perfumes, lacquer formulations, dye solutions, antifreezes, soaps, window cleaners. The bottled liquid is sold in 70% aqueous solution as rubbing alcohol.
Industrial applications include: Adhesives and sealant chemicals, non-pesticidal agricultural chemicals, fuels and fuel additives, intermediates, lubricants, paint and coating additives, process regulators and aids specific to petroleum production, and cleaning solvents for cleaning or degreasing.