Physical characteristics of Alcohol
a) It is a colourless, volatile liquid which means it changes into vapour easily at room temperature.
b) It has a sweet smell.
c) It is soluble in water and organic solvents such as ether, chloroform and benzene. Ethanol and water are
also miscible; it mixes with water to form a homogenous solution in all proportions.
d) It is neutral
e) It has low melting point and low boiling point.
Chemical characteristics of Alcohol
a) It burns in air with a blue flame, The burning of alcohol produces
water and carbon dioxide. The combustion of alcohol in oxygen is an
exothermic reaction, Hence , alcohol can be used as fuels in
b) Alcohol reacts with organics acids to produce esters through
‘esterification’ reaction. This reaction needs a little concentrated
sulphuric acid to act as an enzyme.
Alcohol + Organic Acid ————–> Ester + water
The ester formed is colourless liquid which does not dissolve in water. It will float on the surface of the water. Various esters can be produced by reacting alcohols with different organic acids.
Esters are sweet-smelling and volatile, thus they are widely used in food flavouring, fragrances and cosmetics.