If you love doing experiment in the chemistry lab or microbiology lab, you must be familiar with alcohol.

Alcohol has various functions in the laboratory from sterilization, gram staining, to DNA extractions.

Now you probably are wondering about what type of matter an alcohol is.

Is alcohol an element, compound, or mixture?

Alcohol is a compound because it consists of various atoms (Carbon, Oxygen, and Hydrogen) which bonds chemically.

The classification of alcohol is actually a bit complex. In this article, we will talk about it. So stay tuned!

What Is An Element?

Element is a matter that only consists of 1 type of atom.

Atom, in physics, is the smallest component of matter. It’s so small that you cannot even observe it using a microscope.

There are 118 types of atoms on earth. You can see the list in the periodic table.

Each of those atoms has special characteristic.

An atom can combine to its fellow kind of atom to form an element.

What are some examples of elements?

  • Aluminum (with the chemical formula of Al) is an element because it only consists of atom Aluminum
  • Oxygen (with the chemical formula of O2) is an element because it only consists of atom Oxygen.
  • Potassium (with the chemical formula of K) is an element because it only consists of the atom Kalium/Potassium.

So, a matter that only consists of a single type of atom is called ELEMENT. It may consist of A HUGE NUMBER of atoms, but those are all the same type of atom. 

Since element is pure, it cannot be separated in any way. No matter how hard you try to break it down, it is still the same element, it won’t change to something else.

What Is A Compound?

A compound is a matter that is formed when two or more atoms bond chemically. Because it has chemical bonds, compound can be separated through some chemical process.

What are some examples of compounds?

  • Water (H2O). It consists of 2 Hydrogen atoms and 1 Oxygen atom. You cannot physically break down hydrogen and oxygen from water. But you can chemically do it using a process called water electrolysis.
  • Salt (NaCl). It consists of Na atom (sodium) and Cl atom (chlorine). Just like water, salt can be separated using electrolysis too.

What Is A Mixture?

In science, a mixture is a matter that formed when two or more elements are combined physically but not chemically.

You can break down a mixture through physical process such as evaporation, distillation, et cetera.

What are some examples of mixtures?

  • Mud. Mud consists of water and huge amount of dirt. Those two things can be separated through a physical process called FILTRATION.
  • Saltwater. Saltwater mainly contains water and salt. Although the salt itself is a compound, the saltwater is a mixture because it consists of salt and water that doesn’t make any chemical bond. They can be separated easily through EVAPORATION.

What Is An Alcohol?

In Chemistry, alcohol is actually a group for matters that have 1 or more -OH attached to atom Carbon in their chemical formulas.

What are examples of alcohols?

  • Methanol (for antifreeze)
  • Ethanol (for antibacterial wipes and sanitizer)
  • Propanol (for disinfectant and window cleaner)
  • Butanol (for paint solvent and fuel)

Is Alcohol A Compound?

The short answer is yes, alcohol is a compound.

Actually, alcohol is a GROUP of compounds which has -OH attached to atom Carbon in their chemical formulas.

Some examples of alcohol are methanol, propanol, and butanol. Each of them has its own definite ratio of composition.

Is Methanol a Compound?

Yes, methanol is a compound. Methanol (methyl alcohol) consists of atom C (Carbon), O (Oxygen) and H (Hydrogen) that bond chemically.

Is Ethanol a Compound?

Yes, ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is a compound. Just like other types of alcohol, methanol consists of three types of atoms i.e. Carbon, Oxygen, and Hydrogen.

Is Rubbing Alcohol A Compound or Mixture?

Rubbing alcohol, which typically consists of isopropyl alcohol and water is a MIXTURE. Although isopropyl alcohol itself is a compound, when it’s mixed with water, it becomes another matter called rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol can be separated physically into its components and hence it’s considered a mixture.

Can you separate rubbing alcohol?

Yes, you can break down rubbing alcohol to produce the compound of water (H2O) and the compound of isopropyl alcohol (C3H8O). To separate rubbing alcohol, you can conduct a physical reaction called distillation.

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