A clear, colorless, slightly volatile solvent with a slight alcoholic smell. Methanol, commonly known as methyl alcohol, was discovered in 1661 by R. Boyle. It is made by the destructive distillation of wood, peat, and lignite as well as by the partial oxidation of natural gas hydrocarbons. Methanol is highly polar and is usually a better solvent than ethanol. It is used in the manufacture of several organic compounds. Methanol is also used as a solvent for lacquers, shellac, rosin, dyes, oils, paint removers, and degreasing compounds. Because of its toxicity, methanol is used to denature ethanol.
Synonyms and Related Terms
methanol (IUPAC); methyl alcohol; wood alcohol; wood spirits; pyroxylic spirit; wood naphtha; methyl hydrate; methylic alcohol; Columbian spirits; carbinol
Miscible with water, ethanol, ether, benzene, ketones and most other organic solvents. Methanol burns with a pale blue flame.
|Molecular Weight||mol. wt.=32.04|
Hazards and Safety
Flammable. Flash point = 12 C (54 F)
Dangerous fire risk. Forms an explosive mixture with air.
Toxic by ingestion and inhalation. Ingestion of small amounts will cause blindness.
Sources Checked for Data in Record
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- Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
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