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Denatured Ethanol

Updated on September 20, 2011

Denatured Ethanol is simply Methylated Spirit. Though we all could either picture the Image of a Methylated Spirit, would have felt it's cooling sensation, or must have found it useful in removing Stains (especially Organic stains) from our Fabrics; we may not know that it is the pure Ethanol that we needed in the first place, that every other components are added not to enhance it's Potency but to simply prevent people from Drinking it.

What is Denatured Ethanol?

Denatured Ethanol or Alcohol is a Mixture of Ethanol and some Additives (most importantly, Methanol) with physical characteristics that deviates from normal ethanol, but retains the chemical and functional Characteristics. It is a mixture of Alkanol (Ethanol, Methanol and Isopropyl Alcohol), Alkanone (Acetone, Methyl ethyl Ketone, and Methyl Isobutyl Ketone) and Denatonium. There are also some few examples of addition of colouring matter such as Aniline.

Why is Ethanol Denatured?

Ethanol is denatured primarily to prevent people from drinking the Alcohol. There are a lot of very important uses of Ethanol that can be hampered by consumption if Normal Ethanol is bottled as a palatable Entity. In moral Perspective, the Doctor would have to be creative in arriving at a substitute Disinfectant to sterilise the Skin before injecting his Patient. Also, it could compromise its uses as an Antiseptic in Wounds, its importance in Bio-diesel Production, as an important organic Solvent, etc.

But the denaturation of Ethanol has its own Political and Economical Significance. This position is very important as there so many Ethical Questions on the Logic behind the reason. What ever is the position, the reason why Ethanol is denatured can be summarised as:

1. To protect consumption grade Ethano.

2. To safe-guard Tax Revenue on consumption-grade Ethanol.

3. To differentiate and Identify Ethanol meant for Different Purposes.

4. To prevent consuming Ethanol that is reserved for other important uses.

5. To prevent abuse due to increased access.

How Ethanol is Denatured

Methanol is evidently poisonous. But denatured Ethanol is cheaper than normal consumable Ethanol, as such, some Entrepreneurs might decide to save cost by attempting to separate it from the Methanol. But their boiling points are so close that it is difficult to separate them by Distillation.

Denatonium is believed to be the most bitterest substance known. Hence, its importance in conferring an awful taste to the Ethanol. An Addict could forcefully spit out the methylated spirit if he tries to consume it without checking the Warning on the Label.

Addition of colour Pigments such as Analine Dye is to confer a visible Colour for ease in identification and to differentiate the denatured Ethanol from normal colourless consumable Ethanol.


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    • James Agbogun profile image

      James Agbogun 5 years ago

      Thank you Komal. Encouraged to bring out more Articles!

    • profile image

      komal 5 years ago

      it was awesome!