What is Alcohol?

There are many different alcohols. One of the most common types is the kind found in alcoholic drinks. This is "ethyl alcohol" and is usually known as "grains alcohol". Grains alcohol is produced from starches and sugars, and can be made from most vegetables, grains, and fruits.

When made from starch is first changed to sugar, and the sugar is then fermented to give alcohol. Alcohol is generally made from corn, rye, barley, and other materials. In Ireland the infamous "poteen" is made from potatoes, while most alcohol in the United States is made from blackstrap molasses.

Grain Acohol

Ethyl alcohol 


Did you know that ethyl alcohol is also valuable as a fuel? It can even be used in motor-cars as a substitute for petrol. When used for engines, it is often mixed with other chemicals to improve it. During World War II, various countries that lacked oil used alcoholic mixtures in place of petrol in in cars.

Although alcohol is lighter than water, the two liquids mix easily and make a solution that has a lower freezing point than water. Such a solution is commonly used as an antifreeze mixture in motor-car radiators. Because it dissolves so many substances, alcohol is often used as solvent, as in making varnishes for wood and lacquers for metals.

Alcohol is also used in the preparation of anaesthetics such as chloroform and ether, and in the manufacture of many substances, such as dyes, medicines, liniments, and vinegar. Alcohol is an antiseptic, and is used in museums and hospitals to preserve specimens. When taken in to the body in small amounts, it unites with oxygen to give heat.

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