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Alcohols

Alcohols are organic compounds when a hydroxyl (OH) group replaces a hydrogen atom in an alkane or a carbon atom with a hydrogen atom in every possible location in a single bond. They are usually colorless liquids or solids and can be highly water-soluble.

There are many kinds of alcohols based on the carbon bonded to the hydroxyl group. Methanol, or methyl alcohol, is a solvent. It can be used to produce formaldehyde and other resins, and is an ingredient in fuels, antifreeze and for cleaning metals.

Propanol, or propyl alcohol, is best known as rubbing alcohol and is usually diluted for home use.

Ethanol, ethyl alcohol, is drinkable, and can be found in alcoholic beverages and other ingestible products, like vanilla. It’s also used in toiletries, like perfumes, pharmaceuticals, fuel sources, and sterilization. It’s a common ingredient in hand sanitizers.

Alcohols are also used in antifreeze, preservatives, and as other solvents.