The key difference between wood alcohol and grain alcohol is that wood alcohol is methanol, whereas grain alcohol is ethanol with added methanol.
Wood alcohol and grain alcohol are two important types of alcohol liquids. Both are colorless and contain methanol. Although they are similar in chemical means and appearance, they are different from each other according to their properties and their uses.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Wood Alcohol
3. What is Grain Alcohol
4. Wood Alcohol vs Grain Alcohol in Tabular Form
5. Summary – Wood Alcohol vs Grain Alcohol
What is Wood Alcohol?
Wood alcohol is methanol, which is an organic chemical compound having the chemical formula CH3OH. It is also known as methyl alcohol. It is the simplest alcohol in the alcohol series of compounds. It has a methyl group attached to a hydroxyl group. We can abbreviate it as MeOH.
When considering the properties of wood alcohol, it is a light, volatile, colorless, and flammable liquid having a distinctive alcoholic odor that is similar to the odor of ethanol. Moreover, wood alcohol is a polar solvent, and it is known as wood alcohol because this substance was produced mainly in the past by the destructive distillation of wood. However, at present, this substance is produced from the hydrogenation of carbon monoxide.
There are many important applications of this liquid; it is used as a precursor for the production of formaldehyde, acetic acid, methyl tert-butyl ether, methyl benzoate, anisole, peroxy acids, etc. However, it is not included in consumables because ingestion of a very small amount of methanol can cause permanent blindness due to the destruction of the optic nerve.
What is Grain Alcohol?
Grain alcohol (brand name is Everclear) is rectified spirit produced by the American company Luxco. It is colorless. As its name suggests, this alcohol is made from grain. Grain alcohol is bottled with 60%, 75.5%, 94.5%, and 95% alcohol by volume. It was introduced in 1922 in the United States.
Grain alcohol can be described as an unfinished ingredient. Therefore, it should not be consumed directly in undiluted form, and the company states that the product has a rather notorious reputation because of its high alcohol content. We can dilute it with water or other ingredients until the alcohol strength becomes not dangerous compared to other spirits or liqueurs on the shelf. Moreover, this liquid is used in households as a food-grade cleaning, disinfecting, or stove fuel alcohol since it has fumes and its odor is less offensive compared to isopropyl, rubbing, and denatured alcohol when considering the toxicity to breathe and drink.
What is the Difference Between Wood Alcohol and Grain Alcohol?
Methanol is an organic chemical compound having the chemical formula CH3OH, while grain alcohol (brand name is Everclear) is rectified spirit produced by the American company Luxco. The key difference between wood alcohol and grain alcohol is that wood alcohol is methanol, whereas grain alcohol is ethanol with added methanol. Moreover, wood alcohol is used as base materials in acrylic plastic, synthetic fabrics, and fibers useful in making clothes, adhesives, paint, and plywood, whereas grain alcohol is used as a solvent, and as a fuel for alcohol burners and camping stoves.
Below is a summary of the difference between wood alcohol and grain alcohol in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Wood Alcohol vs Grain Alcohol
Wood alcohol and grain alcohol are two types of alcohol liquids that are usually colorless. The key difference between wood alcohol and grain alcohol is that wood alcohol is methanol, whereas grain alcohol is ethanol with added methanol.
1. Bell-Young, Lucy. “10 Uses of Denatured Alcohol: The Chemistry Blog.” ReAgent Chemicals, 9 Feb. 2022.
1. “Methanol by Danny S. – 001” By Danny S. – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “EverclearHiRes” By The original uploader was Bighead at English Wikipedia. – Transferred from en.Wikipedia to Commons by Sreejithk2000 using CommonsHelper. (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
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