The 15 Most Important Alcohol Examples

Alcohols are used in various fields: from consumption in beverages to industrial solvents. Their application is very varied due to the ease of synthesizing them.


The types of alcohols depend mainly on the structure to which the hydroxide molecule is attached, so they can be very different and at the same time share some characteristics.

Featured Examples of Alcohols

1- Methanol

Methanol is a type of alcohol that is formed from methane (CH4), having a hydroxyl group instead of hydrogen and with the formula CH3OH.

It is mainly used as a solvent and antifreeze.

2- Ethanol

Ethanol is a type of alcohol that is formed from an ethanol chain (C2H6) and has the formula C2H5OH.

Its boiling point is slightly higher than methanol due to its longer chain and it is used primarily as a beverage, disinfectant, and solvent.

3- Propanol

Propanol is formed from a propane chain. Its general formula is C3H8O. Like other simpler alcohols, it serves as an antifreeze and antiseptic. It is also used in the manufacture of products in the chemical industry.

In propanol, the hydroxyl molecule can be at different points in the chain, so its name can change depending on this position.

Like the alcohols named above, it comes from a carbon chain, with a general formula of C4H10O.

Like propanol, the molecule can be positioned at different points in the chain, thus changing its structure and name. In addition, branches that change the structure can be formed in this compound.

Its main use is for the synthesis of other compounds, such as butyl acrylate.

5- Pentanol

Pentanol is an alcohol derived from a five-atom hydrocarbon chain. They can have branches and there are versions according to the position of the OH.

Unlike the previous alcohols, pentanol is more soluble in organic solutions than in aqueous ones.

6- phenol

It is an alcohol formed by an aromatic ring with an OH. Due to its structure, it has several uses in industry, mainly in the chemical and pharmaceutical fields.

7- Glycerol

It is an alcohol that has three hydroxyl groups on a three-carbon chain. It can be found in nature as part of some lipids and is widely used in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.

8- Phenethyl alcohol

It is an alcohol that occurs as a flavored ring with a two-carbon chain.

It is found naturally in some plants and has a smell similar to that of some flowers, which is why it is used to make some perfumes.

9- Propylene Glycol

It is an oily-looking alcohol with the formula C3H8O2. Its main applications are as a humectant or antifreeze, but due to its chemical nature it can be used for much more.

10- Isopropyl alcohol

It is a secondary alcohol linked in the center to a propylene chain. It is usually used as an antiseptic and as a cleaning liquid for lenses.

11- Terbutanol

Tertiary alcohol composed of methylpropan-1-ol, butan-1-ol and butan-2-ol. It is possible to find it in chickpeas, beers or cassava (used to ferment alcoholic beverages).

12- Cetyl alcohol

It was discovered in 1817 by heating sperm whale with potassium hydroxide. It is a fatty alcohol that, at room temperature, can be flaked or waxy.

13- Glycerin

Alcohol, which is one of the main causes of digestive lipid breakdown. It comes in liquid form (at 25ºC) and serves as an intermediate for alcoholic fermentation .

14-Myricillic alcohol

Also called melisil alcohol, it is found in cuticle and beeswax and vegetables. It is a primary fatty alcohol and serves as a stimulant for the growth of flowers and plants.

15- Ethylene Glycol

It is situated in the group of diols and is characterized by its slightly sweet taste, similar to syrup. It is used as an antifreeze and can be manufactured from the hydration of ethylene oxide.

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