Reaction of Alcohol Lab

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Date: October 16, 2010


To test the theories of how the molecular structure of an organic molecule affects its properties and determine the different isomers of butanol through comparison of their reactions with distilled water, Lucas Reagent and Potassium Permanganate.


  • Unknown butanol isomers A, B, C, D
  • Pipettes
  • Distilled water
  • Lucas Reagent (conc. HCl + ZnCl2)
  • Potassium Permanganate (KMnO4)
  • pH probe/ pH paper
  • Test tubes (4)
  • Test tube rack
  • Rubber stoppers (4)
  • Goggles
  • 10-mL measuring cylinder
  • 25-mL measuring cylinder



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Observation Chart:


Both KMnO4 and Lucas Reagent help to differentiate between tertiary alcohol, secondary alcohol, and primary alcohol.

From the results of KMnO4, Butanol A has no reaction, so it has to be the t-butanol. Butanol B changed colour, but it turns out to be neutral, so it has to be s-butanol. The remaining two, C and D, are either i-butanol or n-butanol, since the solution turned acidic after the reaction.

From the results of Lucas Reagent, we can ...

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Awarded 5 stars for excellent scientific knowledge and well planned out methods. Great detailed predictions at the start and clear analysis of the results. Only one improvement would be to add in some background knowledge about alcohols - primary, secondary and tertiary.