Alcohols (Organic Compounds)

Alcohols, a large group of organic compounds, are compounds in which hydrogen atoms in side chains of aliphatic hydrocarbons, alicyclic hydrocarbons or aromatic hydrocarbons are replaced by hydroxyl groups. In general, alcohols and hydroxyl groups are linked to a saturated, SP3 hybrid carbon atom. If hydroxyl group is linked to benzene ring, it is phenol; if hydroxyl group is linked to SP2 hybrid olefin carbon, it is enol. The properties of phenols and enols are quite different from general alcohols.


In industrial production, most of the simple saturated monoalcohols, except methanol, are produced from olefins. However, before the rise of the petroleum industry, some alcohols were produced by fermentation.


The following are several important alcohols:


Methanol (lignol) is synthesized from syngas (CO and H ramming) in the presence of heating, pressure and catalyst.


Ethanol, commonly known as alcohol, is one of the most widely used alcohols.


Glycol, the simplest and most important binary alcohol, is a sweet, viscous, colorless liquid.


Glycerol, commonly known as glycerol, is a colorless and sweet viscous liquid, which can be mixed with water, is insoluble in organic solvents and has strong water absorption.


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