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Thread: Denatured alcohol and Isoproply alcohol

  1. #1

    Denatured alcohol and Isoproply alcohol

    I know everyone in the world probably knows this but me, but what is the difference between isopropyl alcohol and Denatured alcohol? I use the denatured kind to wipe off pencil marks without having to resort to sanding, but at work we have 55 gallon drums filled with isopropyl alcohol.

    Might save me some money if the two had similar properties....
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  2. #2
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    Denatured has added properties that make it unpalatable to drink. Also it has a low water content.
    Isopropyl is used to melt ice. I don't know what makes it special though.
    "Folks is funny critters."

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  3. #3
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    Denatured is what we always used to clean tape player/recorder heads. Isopropyl had something in it that left a film on the head that was not good for the tape or the music transfer, can't remember. I "think" denatured is what you would use with wood, not the Isopropyl, but let's let the mor knowledgeable ones on the matter answer that. Jim.
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  4. #4
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    The [first hit] I got from a Google search on denatured isopropyl was fairly informative without getting too technical.

    Apparently, "denatured" starts out as ethanol, the eminently drinkable stuff. "Rubbing alcohol" may or may not have ethanol or isopropyl in it, so you can't go by that. But ethanol and isopropyl definitely seem to be distinct from each other.

    Someone could probably do more research on the properties of the two types, but the best way to answer your question might be to bring an ounce or two of isopropyl home and try it on those pencil marks.

  5. #5
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    I'm not a chemist but there are a number of different alcohols - ethanol, methanol, isopropyl, isobutyl, etc. The differ in their structure and number of carbon/hydrogen groups.

    Ethanol is denatured because it can be consumed by humans in the un-denatured form - and the only way you get the un-denatured product is to pay the alcoholic tax on it.

    I don't know the reason why different alcohols are used. I notice that isopropyl is used in the medical field to wipe the skin before a shot. Maybe someone else can tell us what the differences are in the different kinds of alcohols.

    Oh, Wikipedia has an article on alcohol which might explain some of it.

    Mike
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  6. #6
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    Isopropyl is what is used to de-ice airplanes. It is also highly flammable. I seem to recall a story from my Air Force days relating to isopropyl alcohol.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  7. #7
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    I've got to believe they use something different for deicing now. A few weeks ago I was flying out of Detroit and we had to go to the deicing pad. The smell was not an alcohol smell and they did it with the engines running. In fact they revved them up when they sprayed around the wings. Knowing very roughly how a jet engine works that seems like it would be really dangerous.

    Edit: I was curious so I looked it up. It seems that they are Ethylene and Propylene glycol-based: http://www.dow.com/aircraft/products/index.htm. At least some of them anyway.
    Last edited by Matt Meiser; 01-12-2008 at 02:15 AM.

  8. #8
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    I've seen Isopropyl as the main (and only) ingredient in Rubbing Alcohol (diluted), Antiseptic Spray, and Nail Polish Remover.

  9. #9
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    I have a bottle of Nail Polish Remover that is 100% acetone (nasty stuff). Is Isopropyl just as nasty? If so, using it on your skin at 70% concentration would seem like a bad idea....

  10. #10
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    Sorry, you're right - I jsut checked here and the Nail Polish is acetone. I also have antiseptic spray at hand, which is 70% Isopropyl.

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