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Chemical properties of Ethanol & Phenol

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Chemical properties of Ethanol & Phenol Objective To find out the chemical properties and pH of ethanol and phenol, and compare their differences between ethanol and phenol. Results Reaction of ethanol: Properties / Reactions Observations / Smell Corresponding equations (if any) pH of solution universal indicator remains green, pH=7 / Triiodomethane reaction yellow precipitate found at bottom of test-tube, with odour smell C2H5OH + 4I2 + 6NaOH � CHI3(s) + HCOO-Na+ + 5NaI + 5H2O Reaction with Na Na sinks to bottom, colourless gas, which gives a 'pop' sound to burning splint, evolves slowly and moderately. When ethanol-ethoxide mixture in test-tube is poured onto a petri-dish, small, colourless rectangular-shaped crystals are formed in a few minutes. 2C2H5OH + 2Na � 2C2H5O-Na+ + H2(g) Esterification When the mixture of ethanol, ethanoic acid & conc.H2SO4 in test-tube is poured into Na2CO3 solution, a smell like all-purpose adhesive is noticeable. Reaction of phenol: Properties / Reactions Observations / Smell Corresponding equations (if any) Solubility in water: (a) a little phenol (b) ...read more.


2.> Ensure that all sodium is reacted in test-tube before disposing the liquid. 3.> Avoid adding too large sodium to ethanol or phenol since the reaction may be to vigorous. 4.> Avoid contact with the crystal of phenol. If you contact with it accidentally, wash your hands with glycerol or plenty of water, or your hands may have white strain due to phenol's corrosive property. Discussion 1.> The smell of phenol is close to that in hospital. 2.> Both pH test (acidic in phenol, neutral in ethanol), iodoform test (+ve in ethanol), solubility test (miscible between ethanol & water), reaction with NaHCO3 (phenol is insoluble), reaction with Br2 water (phenol decolourize Br2) and reaction with neutral FeCl3 (Fe3+ and phenol forms a violet complex) can distinguish between ethanol & phenol. 3.> Phenol is much more soluble in NaOH than in water because the reaction between phenol and water to form H3O+ & phenoxide is reversible (since phenol is a weak acid, most H+ formed will combine with phenoxide to form phenol again) ...read more.


On the other hand, ethanol is saturated and has no electron-rich centre, thus no reaction between ethanol and Br2. 7.> Some of the reactions in this experiment is useful and is usually used for daily life. For example, (a) Iodoform reaction is used to prepare a compound that is one carbon less than previous one and iodoform itself can be used as pesticide. (b) Phenol and it's derivatives can be used as antiseptics so it's quite common to smell their smell in hospital. (c) Esterification can be used to synthesize esters in perfumes. (d) Phenol can be purified by adding NaOH to phenol and organic compound mixtures, sodium phenoxide can then be crystallized and separated, phenol is regenerated by adding H+. (e) FeCl3, Br2 and NaOH are used to test the presence of phenol if all these three tests show positive result. Conclusion Both ethanol and phenol are widely used compounds, especially in disinfectant. To distinguish them, several tests are needed, since other compounds may also be positive on these tests. If all of these test shows positive result, then the uncertain organic compound may be either one of them. ...read more.

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