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What is Pentanol Used For? - Properties & Overview

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Pentanol is a pretty foreign sounding word. But as you're about to learn in this lesson on pentanol's properties and uses, it's found in some things you are really familiar with.

Pentanol

If you're a plant, this chemical could become your worst enemy. If you're a human, it might help save your life or keep you healthy in more ways than one. It's pentanol, or 1-pentanol, also sometimes called amyl alcohol. This lesson is going to cover this chemical substance's numerous properties and uses.

Properties

Let's start with properties then. If you were to take a look at pentanol at room temperature you'd describe it as a colorless liquid. If you were to smell it, you'd probably say it has a relatively strong fusel-like odor.

Fusel is basically a bunch of oily liquids that are a byproduct of alcoholic fermentation. The name fusel comes from the German word for 'bad liquor' and you wouldn't want to drink this stuff nor pentanol. If you were to taste pentanol, you'd say it has a burning taste. Not all that pleasant, huh? The good thing is that if you were to swallow a little bit of pure pentanol, you'd probably be okay as pure pentanol is essentially non-toxic. But if there are impurities in it, it can be dangerous.

Some other properties of pentanol include:

  • A melting point of -79 degrees Celsius, which is -110.2 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • A boiling point is 137.5 degrees Celsius, equivalent to 279.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • A specific gravity at 20 degrees Celsius of 0.8146.
  • A molecular weight of 88.15 g/mol.
  • Slight solubility in water but even more solubility with alcohol.

Uses

So what is pentanol used for then? Quite a few interesting things. Remember that whole plant/person spiel in the beginning of the lesson? Well, pentanol could be called a plant's worst friend because it is used to manufacture herbicides. Herbicides are compounds that kill ('-cide') plants (herbs).

And while it is a plant's worst friend, pentanol could be a person's best friend in more ways than one. Firstly, it can be used as a chemical intermediate to help make medications. Secondly, it can also be used to create antioxidants (substances that help neutralize free radicals, which are atoms or molecules that damage body structures). Pentanol can also be used to make life-saving flotation aids.

Other things pentanol is used to make include:

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