|Molar mass||60.1 g mol−1|
|Density||0.786 g/cm³ (20 °C)|
−89 °C, 184 K, -128 °F
82.4 °C, 356 K, 180 °F
|Solubility in water||miscible|
|Solubility||miscible in benzene, chloroform, ethanol, ether, glycerin
soluble in acetone
insoluble in salt solutions
|Refractive index (nD)||1.3776|
|Viscosity||2.86 cP at 15 °C
1.96 cP at 25 °C
1.77 cP at 30 °C
For 187K-500K, viscosity (cP) =10^(-0.7009+(8.4150E+02/T)+(-8.6068E-03*T)+(8.2964E-06*(T^2))) (Temp in K)
|Dipole moment||1.66 D (gas)|
|Flash point||11.7 °C (open cup)
13 °C (closed cup)
|LD50||5005 mg/kg (rat, oral)|
|Related alcohols||1-Propanol, Ethanol, 2-Butanol|
|Supplementary data page|
|n, εr, etc.|
Solid, liquid, gas
|Spectral data||UV, IR, NMR, MS|
(what is this?) |
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Isopropyl alcohol (also propan-2-ol, 2-propanol, iso, isopro, isoprop, rubbing alcohol, isopropanol, or the abbreviation IPA) is a common name for a colorless, flammable chemical compound with a strong odor. It has the molecular formula C3H8O. It is the simplest example of a secondary alcohol, where the alcohol carbon is attached to two other carbons sometimes shown as (CH3)2CHOH. It is an isomer of propanol.
Isopropyl alcohol is produced by combining water and propene. There are two processes for achieving this: indirect hydration via the sulfuric acid process and direct hydration. The former process, which can use low-quality propene, predominates in the USA while the latter process, which requires high-purity propene, is more commonly used in Europe. These processes give predominantly isopropyl alcohol rather than 1-propanol because the addition of water or sulfuric acid to propene follows Markovnikov's rule.
The indirect process reacts propene with sulfuric acid to form a mixture of sulfate esters. Subsequent hydrolysis of these esters produces isopropyl alcohol. Direct hydration reacts propene and water, either in gas or liquid phases, at high pressures in the presence of solid or supported acidic catalysts. Both processes require that the isopropyl alcohol be separated from water and other by-products by distillation. Isopropyl alcohol and water form an azeotrope and simple distillation gives a material which is 87.9% by weight isopropyl alcohol and 12.1% by weight water. Pure (anhydrous) isopropyl alcohol is made by azeotropic distillation of the "wet" isopropyl alcohol using either diisopropyl ether or cyclohexane as azeotroping agents.
Isopropyl alcohol is readily available. Like acetone, it dissolves a wide range of nonpolar compounds. It is also relatively non-toxic and evaporates quickly. Thus it is used widely as a solvent and as a cleaning fluid, especially for dissolving lipophilic contaminants such as oil. Examples include cleaning electronic devices such as contact pins (like those on ROM cartridges), magnetic tape and disk heads (such as those in audio and video tape recorders and floppy disk drives), the lenses of lasers in optical disc drives (e.g. CD, DVD) and removing thermal paste from IC packages (such as CPUs.) It is used to clean LCD and glass computer monitor screens (at some risk to the anti-reflection coating on some screens), and used to give second-hand or worn records newer-looking sheens. Isopropyl alcohol should not be used to clean vinyl records as it may leach plasticizer from the vinyl making it more rigid. Isopropyl alcohol removes smudges, dirt, and fingerprints from cell phones and PDAs. It is effective at removing residual glue from some sticky labels although some other adhesives used on tapes and paper labels are resistant to it. It can also be used to remove stains from most fabrics, wood, cotton, etc. Isopropyl alcohol is also used to remove brake fluid traces from hydraulic disk brake systems, so that the brake fluid (usually DOT 3, DOT 4 or mineral oil) does not contaminate the brake pads, which would result in poor braking. In addition it can also be used to clean paintballs or other oil based products so that they may be reused, commonly known as "repainting".
As a biological specimen preservative, isopropyl alcohol provides a cost-effective (compared to ethanol) and comparatively non-toxic alternative to formaldehyde and other synthetic preservatives. Isopropyl alcohol solutions of 90-99% are optimal for preserving specimens, although concentrations as low as 70% can be used in emergencies.
Isopropyl alcohol is a major ingredient in "gas dryer" fuel additives. In significant quantities, water is a problem in fuel tanks, as it separates from the gasoline, and can freeze in the supply lines at cold temperatures. It does not remove water from gasoline; rather, the alcohol solubilizes water in gasoline. Once soluble, water does not pose the same risk as insoluble water as it will no longer accumulate in the supply lines and freeze. Isopropyl alcohol is often sold in aerosol cans as a windscreen de-icer.
Isopropyl alcohol nitrate is used in keyboard, LCD and lap top cleaning as a strong but safer alternative to common household cleaning products.
Unlike ethanol or methanol, isopropyl alcohol can be separated from aqueous solutions by adding a salt such as sodium chloride, sodium sulfate, or any of several other inorganic salts, since the alcohol is much less soluble in saline solutions than in salt-free water  The process is colloquially called salting out, and causes concentrated isopropyl alcohol to separate into a distinct layer.
Being a secondary alcohol, isopropyl alcohol can be oxidized to acetone, which is the corresponding ketone. This can be achieved using oxidizing agents such as chromic acid, or by dehydrogenation of isopropyl alcohol over a heated copper catalyst:
Like most alcohols, isopropyl alcohol reacts with active metals such as potassium to form alkoxides which can be called isopropoxides. The reaction with aluminium (initiated by a trace of mercury) is used to prepare the catalyst aluminium isopropoxide.
Isopropyl alcohol vapor is more dense than air and is highly flammable with a very wide combustible range. It should be kept away from heat and open flame. When mixed with air or other oxidizers it can explode through deflagration. Isopropyl alcohol has also been reported to form explosive peroxides.
Like many organic solvents, long term application to the skin can cause defatting.
Isopropyl alcohol is oxidized by the liver into acetone by alcohol dehydrogenase. Symptoms of isopropyl alcohol poisoning include flushing, headache, dizziness, CNS depression, nausea, vomiting, anesthesia, and coma. Use in well-ventilated areas and use protective gloves while using. Poisoning can occur from ingestion, inhalation, or absorption.
Isopropyl alcohol acts as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Its metabolite, acetone, is a CNS depressant in its own right. Around 15 g of isopropyl alcohol can have a toxic effect on a 70 kg human if left untreated. However, it is not nearly as toxic as methanol or ethylene glycol. Isopropyl alcohol does not cause an anion gap acidosis (in which as lowered blood serum pH causes depletion of bicarbonate anion) as do ethanol and methanol. Isopropyl alcohol does, however, produce an osmolal gap between the calculated and measured osmolalities of serum, as do the other alcohols. Overdoses may cause a fruity odor on the breath as a result of its metabolism to acetone, which is not further metabolized.
"1,2-Dichoroethane MSDS." Mallinckrodt Chemicals. 19 May 2008. Web. <http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/D2440.htm>.