Difference Between Ethyl Alcohol and Ethanol

Ethyl Alcohol vs Ethanol

Ethyl alcohol and ethanol are two names given to indicate the same substance. Ethyl alcohol is the general name and ethanol is the IUPAC name. Alcohols are named with a suffix –ol according to the IUPAC nomenclature. First, the longest continuous carbon chain to which the hydroxyl group is directly attached should be selected. Then the name of the corresponding alkane is changed by dropping the final e and adding the suffix ol. The characteristic of the alcohol family is the presence of a –OH functional group (hydroxyl group). Normally, this –OH group is attached to a sp3 hybridized carbon. Ethanol is a smaller alcohol. Since the –OH group is attached to a carbon atom with two hydrogens, ethanol is a primary alcohol.

Alcohols have a higher boiling point than the corresponding hydrocarbons or ethers. The reason for this is the presence of intermolecular interaction between alcohol molecules through hydrogen bonding. If the R group is small, alcohols are miscible with water, but as the R group is becoming larger, it tends to be hydrophobic. Alcohols are polar. The C-O bond and O-H bonds contribute to the polarity of the molecule. Polarization of the O-H bond makes the hydrogen partially positive and explains the acidity of alcohols. Alcohols are weak acids, and the acidity is close to that of water. –OH is a poor leaving group, because OH- is a strong base. However, protonation of the alcohol converts the poor leaving group –OH into a good leaving group (H2O). The carbon, which is directly attached to the –OH group, is partially positive; therefore, it is susceptible to nucleophilic attack. Further, the electron pairs on the oxygen atom make it both basic and nucleophilic.

Ethyl Alcohol

Ethyl alcohol is commonly known as ethanol. Ethanol is a simple alcohol with the molecular formula of C2H5OH. It is a clear, colorless liquid with a characteristic odor. Furthermore, ethanol is a flammable liquid. Melting point of ethanol is -114.1 oC, and the boiling point is 78.5 oC. Ethanol is polar due to the electronegativity difference between the oxygen and hydrogen in the –OH group. Also, due to –OH group, it has the ability to form hydrogen bonds.

Ethyl alcohol is used as a beverage. According to the ethanol percentage, there are different types of beverages such as wine, beer, whiskey, brandy, arrack, etc. Ethanol can be easily obtained by the sugar fermentation process using zymase enzyme.  This enzyme naturally presents in yeast, so in the anaerobic respiration, yeast can produce ethanol. Ethanol is toxic to the body, and it is converted to acetaldehyde in the liver, which is also toxic. Other than a beverage ethanol can be used as an antiseptic to clean surfaces from micro organisms. It is mainly used as a fuel and a fuel additive in vehicles. Ethanol is miscible with water, and also it serves as a good solvent.


What is the difference between Ethyl Alcohol and Ethanol?

• The chemical addressed by the two names are the same.

• Ethyl alcohol is the general name whereas ethanol is the IUPAC name.