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.


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.


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.


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:

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account