whats the difference between rubbing alcohol and drinking alcohol?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by chris4355, Aug 8, 2008.

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  1. chris4355 nothing really matters Registered Senior Member

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    always wondered that.
     
  2. Vkothii Banned Banned

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    The first one is for rubbing, not drinking, the second one can be imbibed.
    Both are toxic, the first can cause brain-damage more quickly than the second, it's use as an intoxicant is advised against (and most of us lose millions of neurons every day anyway).
     
  3. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    mostly the percentage of ethonol in both substances. Rubbing achole is close to 100% where as achole you buy from a shop to drink is much lower than that
     
  4. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    One tastes allot stronger than the other! It is almost like moonshine but moonshine is even stronger , like 150 percent to 200 percent alcohol.
     
  5. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    ummm cosmic you cant have 200% of anything
     
  6. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    With moonshine you can! ;)
     
  7. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    cosmic you CANT

    Ok if i have a bottle which i tell you is 100% H2O then every single molocule in that bottle is H2O. The only way for there to be more H2O is for you to get a bigger bottle, you cant come back to me and go this bottle contains 200% H2O however because that makes no sence
     
  8. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    Actually, the full answer is that there are several kinds of alcohol. "Drinking" alcohol is chemically known as ethanol. Rubbing alcohol is isopropyl alcohol and is VERY posionous.

    Another common one that's called "wood" alcohol is chemically known as methanol and is also posionous. It will cause blindness and insanity in a very short time if you swallow much of it.

    There's a common solvent used in industry called "denatured" alchohol. It's primarily ethanol but contains small amounts of of either methanol or isopropyl that makes it unfit for drinking and thus avoids the expensive federal tax charged on all drinking alcohol.
     
  9. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    I think you guys are arguing over "proof" vs. percentage. The proof numbers are exactly 1/2 of the percentage number. Thus, 100 proof whisky is 50% alcohol while something that's 200 proof is 100% alcohol. :D
     
  10. Walter L. Wagner Cosmic Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

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    Read-Only is correct.

    Isopropyl alcohol is a propanol, or 3-carbon alcohol with the OH on the middle carbon. It is commonly called rubbing alcohol, and is somewhat poisonous. Doctors use isopropyl alcohol to cleanse/sterilize the skin before hypodermic injection, and it is rubbed on as 'rubbing alcohol'. It can also be used to cool someone by rubbing it on and letting it evaporate.

    Ethanol is 2-carbon alcohol, and called grain alcohol because it is usually made by fermentation of grains. You can also ferment other starches, or sugars, to obtain ethanol. It is the name for what people commonly call 'alcohol'.

    Methanol is 1-carbon alcohol, and called wood alcohol because it can be extracted when wood is heated to give off gases, including gaseous methanol, which can then be precipitated out as a liquid.

    Denatured alcohol is ethanol to which a poison has been added that makes one sick if one drinks the denatured alcohol; oftentimes the poison is a propanol, or formerly methanol. I believe they no longer use methanol because too many people drank denatured alcohol anyway in spite of the denaturing, to get drunk, but also got blind from the methanol.

    Cheers,
     
  11. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Well, 200 proof then is what I meant.
     
  12. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    as i said rubbing achole is something like 99.9% (not proof) pure
     
  13. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    It's generally not that strong, Asguard, becasue it contains water.

    And the term "proof" is ONLY applied to ethanol (grain alcohol) and not to the other types like isopropol (rubbing) alcohol.
     
  14. chris4355 nothing really matters Registered Senior Member

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    thanks!
     
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Alcohol is the organic analog of what we call a base or an alkali in inorganic chemistry. It is an organic molecule whose behavior in chemical reactions is largely defined by an -OH radical (a "hydroxyl group"). Hydroxyl groups are very loosely bonded to their molecules and so they are easily removed. Since the -OH radical has a positive charge, this separation leaves a negatively charged ion, which will then replace the hydroxyl group by bonding with another positively charged ion if one comes along. This is one of the important chemical reactions studied in organic chemistry.

    The practical importance of this is that if you mix alcohol (an organic alkali) with lemon juice (which contains citric acid, an organic acid), the hydroxyl radical will separate from the alcohol and the hydrogen radical will separate from the acid, and go off happily to form a water molecule. Meanwhile the negatively charged ion left from the alcohol molecule will bond to the positively charged ion left from the acid molecule to form a citrate. This molecule will have the psychoactive properties of alcohol but will be disguised with the flavor of lemon juice.

    Alcohols are chains of carbon atoms with two hydrogen atoms bonded. The other two links on the tetravalent carbon atom are bonded to the previous and subsequent carbon atom in the chain. At one end of the chain the last bond is taken up by an extra hydrogen atom, and at the other end the last bond is taken up by the hydroxyl radical.

    The same naming convention is used for alcohols as for other hydrocarbon series: meth-, eth-, trit-, prop-, pent-, hex-, hept-, oct-, etc. The basic hydrocarbons are the alkanes. Methane has one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms, ethane has two carbon atoms and six hydrogen atoms, working up to octane (the key ingredient in gasoline) which has eight carbon atoms and eighteen hydrogen atoms. You can keep going if you can build the molecules.

    Alcohols follow the exact same series. Methanol has one carbon atom, three hydrogen atoms and one hydroxyl group. Ethanol has two carbon atoms, five hydrogen atoms and one hydroxyl group. Octanol (again I don't know if you can actually build this molecule) would have eight carbon atoms, seventeen hydrogen atoms and one hydroxyl group.

    Methanol (also called "methyl alcohol") itself is not poisonous and upon ingestion will first make us drunk like other alcohols. Humans happen to have an enzyme in our livers (called "alcohol dehydrogenase") that breaks methanol down into formic acid and formaldehyde. These chemicals destroy our optic nerves. I'm sure there are some other animals that react to it in the exact same way, and other species whose livers work differently and can happily digest methanol to metabolize its generous energy content (8 calories per gram, the same as fat, double that of sugars and other carbohydrates).

    Like most exotic-looking words beginning with al-, al-kohol is Arabic, and was coined about 1200 years ago for antimony sulfide, a disinfectant created by distillation. It was borrowed into scientific Latin about three hundred years later and acquired the meaning of any product of distillation. By the time it came into English via French in the 1500s, its use had narrowed to a different product of distillation, what we now know as alcohol.
     
  16. Dr Mabuse Percipient Thaumaturgist Registered Senior Member

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    True 200 proof isn't achievable unless in a very elaborate lab situation.

    Simply opening a container of Pure Grain Alcohol reduces it's proof immediately by nature of exposure to the air.

    Nice that one of you guys got specific on the molecules. This is a pretty cool thread. I hadn't thought of this stuff in a long time.
     
  17. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, it's VERY hydrophillic (sp? haven't used that word in AGES!) which makes it useful for removing water from fuel systems. But caution is advised because it can actually increase the water content by taking it from the air (as you just mentioned) if it's left in very long.;)
     
  18. Myles Registered Senior Member

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    Better make sure it's been tested with gunpowder !
     
  19. Medicine*Woman Jesus: Mythstory--Not History! Valued Senior Member

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    *************
    M*W: Yeah! That brings me back to my Hillbilly days as a child... even though I was a youngin', I knew what a moonshine still was. Come Friday night, when the coal miners came out of the mines, bootleggers would haul their wares to town in the legs of their pants and boots, ie. the term "bootlegger." It was a colorful but dangerous life in those mountains.
     
  20. CarpetDiem Burnin' hours, season days Registered Senior Member

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    Give the kid a break; its his first post, though I gotta agree ;)
     
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