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Octanol: Structure, Formula & Density

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

In this lesson, you'll learn a bit about octanol. You'll learn its different names, structure, formula, density and numerous other interesting properties.

What Is Octanol?

William Shakespeare once wrote 'A rose by any other name would smell as sweet'. Maybe he was talking about octanol?

Found in coatings, waxes, oils and in defoaming agents, octanol is a chemical compound with a lot of different uses. Likewise, it goes by a lot of different names as well, such as 1-octanol, octan-1-ol, octyl alcohol and many others.

Despite its crazy names, some of which are a bit hard to pronounce, its chemical structure and formula are actually really easy. It also has some funky properties to it. So that's what we'll cover in this lesson, octanol's structure, formula and properties like density.

Structure & Formula

Octanol has a formula of C8 H 18 O. The C stands for carbon. The H stands for hydrogen. The O stands for oxygen.

This formula is best put into context with an image of octanol's two-dimensional structure provided herein. Do you see the '-OH' at one end of the structure? That is called a hydroxyl group. The hydroxyl group is attached to an alkyl group, which is in very simple terms a kind of hydrocarbon structure (one that contains hydrogen and carbon) that contains only single bonds and is missing one hydrogen. When a hydroxyl group is attached to the carbon atom of an alkyl group, you get an alcohol. Therefore, octanol is a type of alcohol.

The 2D structure of octanol
o

The structure also helps us see why the formula is correct. Do you see the mountain peaks and valleys of the structure? Each mountain peak (point) is a carbon atom. Likewise, each point of the valley is another carbon atom (including the end point). The line connecting two points is a bond. How many mountain peaks and mountain valley points are there? 8. So, we have 8 carbon atoms.

In this case, each carbon atom must be bonded to four atoms. The carbon atom all the way at the end of the structure thus has 3 hydrogen atoms attached to it. All the other carbon atoms have two hydrogen atoms attached to it because they are attached to two carbon atoms as well. And we also have a hydrogen atom attached to the oxygen. Thus, we have a total of 3 + 14 + 1 = 18 hydrogen atoms. And, of course, the oxygen atom is easy to spot. Hence, our formula and structure match up!

Density & Other Properties

Octanol's chemical and physical properties are as numerous as its atoms. These properties include:

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