What is Propanol? - Structure & Formula

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson teaches you about propanol. You'll learn its various names, formulas, structure, properties as well as safety considerations if you're going to be working with it.

What is Propanol?

They say that staring at the sun can lead to permanent blindness. But that's not the only thing that can lead to permanent blindness. Eye contact with a substance called propanol can do the same thing. At the very least, it'll cause severe irritation to your eyes. Try to avoid doing that if you're about to start working with propanol as you'll need to save your vision for this lesson on propanol's structure, formula uses and more!

Structure, Formula, & Properties

Propanol is also called 1-propanol, n-Propanol, or propan-1-ol. Just keep that in mind in case you come across a text that uses a variation of its name. Similarly, some texts may use one or another molecular formula to represent propanol instead, thus you should be aware of these two formulas:


Potentially, the text may also show the structure of propanol, which is symbolized by the three dimensional (ball and stick) model contained herein.

The 3D representation of propanols structure.

If you were to work with propanol, you'd notice that it is a clear and colorless liquid that has a musty alcohol-like smell to it. If you were to try and taste it (not recommended, mind you) then you would describe it as having the flavor of a ripe fruit with a burning taste to boot.

Safety & Health

The reason you shouldn't swallow this is because if you accidentally aspirate it (meaning if you inhale it into your lungs) you would die a very unpleasant death from chemical aspiration pneumonia. In short, this would be like metaphorically setting your lungs on fire with a chemical and then not being able to breathe as a result of the damage that occurs from there.

Actually, you don't need to choke on propanol to experience unpleasant side effects. Inhalation of its vapors in an excessive and prolonged fashion can lead to a headache, dizziness and drowsiness. In severe cases, there will be profound depression of the central nervous system which may entail a lack of coordination and unconsciousness.

As you learned in the introduction, avoid getting propanol into your eyes. If this happens, it can cause severe irritation, chemical burns, vision loss and potentially blindness. Even propanol's vapors can irritate the eyes, so always wear protective gear when handling it.

This may mean protecting your skin when working with it as well. That's because if you get propanol onto your skin for a long period of time, you'll experience irritation, drying and flaking.

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