Renewable Sources of Energy: Ethanol Essay

1055 Words 5 Pages
Ethanol is a clear, colorless, flammable liquid. Other names that ethanol can also be known as include ethyl alcohol, ethyl hydrate, ethyl hydroxide, fermentation alcohol, methylcarbinol, and grain alcohol. The condensed structural formula for ethanol is C2H5OH, and the expanded structural formula is shown in figure 1. This chemical compound belongs to the alcohol function group therefore characterized by the hydroxyl group –OH combined with a carbon atom. Some characteristics of ethanol include a melting point at -114.1°C, boiling point at 78.5°C and a flash point at 16.6°C. Since it has a low freezing point it is used in thermometer for temperatures below -40°C, and also in antifreeze. Ethanol is the product of fermentation of carbohydrates, in the absence of air. The carbohydrates include crops like corn, wheat, grain, and barley, which makes ethanol quite economic friendly. This chemical compound is used in many processes and is found in many everyday products.
Prior talking about the functions of ethanol and its many uses, the hazards of ethanol and safety concerns has to be known. Ethyl alcohol, like other chemical compounds, can cause damage to many of the body systems when not used properly. It can cause “painful sensitization to light” (Fisher Scientific, 2001) and cause corneal damage. Besides damage to the eyes, ethanol can cause cyanosis, which is when the skin turns a bluish color. One of the most important rules about using chemicals is to never eat or…