Isopropyl Alcohol - C3H8O

What is Isopropyl Alcohol?

Isopropyl alcohol commonly referred to as Isopropanol or n-propanol or dimethylcarbinol is a colourless and flammable liquid with the formula C3H8O that is widely employed in solvent applications. Isopropyl alcohol was one of the first petrochemical products to be manufactured and produced since 1920. The solvent properties of isopropyl alcohol is similar to ethyl alcohol. It is also called isopropyl solvents.

IUPAC name – Propan-2-ol


Isopropyl Alcohol


786 kg/m³

Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass

60.1 g/mol

Boiling Point

82.5 °C

Melting point

-89 °C

Chemical Formula


Isopropyl Alcohol Structure – C3H8O

Isopropyl Alcohol

Isopropyl Alcohol Synthesis- C3H8O

Propylene on esterification in the presence of sulfuric acid undergoes hydrolysis to form isopropyl alcohol. The reaction is as follows.

CH3-CH=CH2 + H2SO4 ⟶ CH3CH(OH)CH3 (Isopropyl Alcohol)

Physical Properties of Isopropyl Alcohol – C3H8O


Unpleasant like ethyl alcohol


Clear, colorless liquid

Specific Density

786 kg/m³

Specific heat

2.68 J/(gK)


Completely soluble in water.

Chemical Properties of Isopropyl Alcohol – C3H8O

  1. It reacts in a complex way with bromine giving mainly brominated acetones such as BrCH2COCBr3 and isopropyl bromide.

    C3H7OH ➝ BrCH2COCBr3 + CH3CH(Br)CH3(isopropyl bromide)

  2. It is the main ingredient in rubbing alcohol. It can decompose into acetone and hydrogen gas according to the following reaction.

    C3H7OH ➝ C3H6O(acetone) + H2

Uses of Isopropyl Alcohol – C3H8O

  • Used as a solvent and intermediate in the production of chemicals. In industry it is used as a solvent for instant manufacture of cements, primers, paints and varnishes.
  • Most commonly used as a disinfectant for wiping down the surfaces of furniture and shelves in the operating room. It is effective against HBV viruses therefore not to used to clean blood or body fluids from the surface of equipment or furniture in the operating room.

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