Difference Wiki

Ethanol vs. Ethanoic Acid: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Published on February 11, 2024
Ethanol is a volatile, flammable alcohol used as a fuel and solvent, while ethanoic acid is a sour, corrosive organic acid used in vinegar and as a chemical reagent.

Key Differences

Ethanol, commonly known as alcohol, is a clear, colorless liquid with a characteristic odor and is used in beverages, as a solvent, and as fuel. Ethanoic acid, also known as acetic acid, is a colorless liquid with a pungent, vinegar-like smell, used in food as vinegar, and industrially as a chemical reagent. Both are organic compounds but differ in chemical structure and properties.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 11, 2024
The chemical formula of ethanol is C2H5OH, consisting of an ethyl group linked to a hydroxyl group, making it an alcohol. Ethanoic acid has the formula CH3COOH, containing a carboxyl group, which makes it an acid. While ethanol acts as a mild depressant to the central nervous system, ethanoic acid exhibits acidic properties and is corrosive.
Huma Saeed
Feb 11, 2024
In terms of usage, ethanol is widely used in alcoholic beverages, as a biofuel, and in thermometers, owing to its low freezing point. Ethanoic acid is used in culinary applications as vinegar, and industrially in the production of plastics, pharmaceuticals, and dyes. Ethanol is notable for its psychoactive effects, whereas ethanoic acid is known for its preservative and antibacterial properties.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 11, 2024
Ethanol is produced through the fermentation of sugars by yeast or via petrochemical processes like ethylene hydration. Ethanoic acid is commonly produced by the fermentation of ethanol or from the oxidation of acetaldehyde. The production of ethanol is a key process in brewing and winemaking, while ethanoic acid production is important in food processing and chemical industries.
Janet White
Feb 11, 2024
Safety and handling of ethanol and ethanoic acid also differ. Ethanol is flammable and poses a fire hazard, whereas ethanoic acid can cause skin burns and should be handled with care due to its corrosive nature. Both compounds are biodegradable and relatively less harmful to the environment compared to other industrial chemicals.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 11, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Chemical Structure

C2H5OH (Alcohol)
CH3COOH (Acid)
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 11, 2024

Properties

Flammable, psychoactive
Corrosive, sour smell
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 11, 2024

Uses

Beverages, fuel, solvent
Vinegar, chemical reagent
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 11, 2024

Production

Fermentation of sugars
Fermentation or oxidation of ethanol
Janet White
Feb 11, 2024

Safety

Fire hazard
Skin burns, corrosive
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 11, 2024
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Ethanol and Ethanoic Acid Definitions

Ethanol

A renewable fuel source derived from biomass.
Ethanol is produced from corn and used in flex-fuel vehicles.
Harlon Moss
Jan 17, 2024

Ethanoic Acid

A preservative and flavoring agent in foods.
Pickles are often preserved using ethanoic acid.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2024

Ethanol

A solvent used in medical and cosmetic products.
Ethanol is used in hand sanitizers for its antiseptic properties.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 17, 2024

Ethanoic Acid

An acid used in the production of plastics and dyes.
Ethanoic acid is a key ingredient in producing vinyl acetate.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2024

Ethanol

A chemical used in thermometers for low freezing point.
Ethanol-filled thermometers are used in cold environments.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2024

Ethanoic Acid

A weak organic acid known for its vinegar-like smell.
Ethanoic acid is the main component of vinegar used in salad dressings.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2024

Ethanol

A volatile liquid alcohol used in beverages and as a biofuel.
Ethanol is added to gasoline to create a more eco-friendly fuel blend.
Huma Saeed
Jan 17, 2024

Ethanoic Acid

A laboratory reagent for acidity tests.
Chemists use ethanoic acid to determine the pH of solutions.
Harlon Moss
Jan 17, 2024

Ethanol

A psychoactive substance found in alcoholic drinks.
Beer and wine contain ethanol, which causes intoxication.
Janet White
Jan 17, 2024

Ethanoic Acid

A chemical reagent used in industrial processes.
Ethanoic acid is utilized in the synthesis of various chemicals.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2024

Ethanol

See alcohol.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2024

Ethanol

(organic compound) A simple aliphatic alcohol formally derived from ethane by replacing one hydrogen atom with a hydroxyl group: CH3-CH2-OH.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2024

Ethanol

Specifically, this alcohol as a fuel.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2024

Ethanol

The organic compound C2H5.OH, the common alcohol which is the intoxicating agent in beer, wine, and other fermented and distilled liquors; called also ethyl alcohol. It is used pure or denatured as a solvent or in medicines and colognes and cleaning solutions, or mixed in gasoline as a fuel for automobiles, and as a rocket fuel (as in the V-2 rocket).
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2024

Ethanol

The intoxicating agent in fermented and distilled liquors; used pure or denatured as a solvent or in medicines and colognes and cleaning solutions and rocket fuel; proposed as a renewable clean-burning additive to gasoline
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2024

FAQs

Can ethanol be used as a disinfectant?

Yes, ethanol is effective as an antiseptic and disinfectant.
Janet White
Feb 11, 2024

What is ethanoic acid used for?

Ethanoic acid is used as vinegar in foods and as a chemical reagent.
Huma Saeed
Feb 11, 2024

Is ethanol flammable?

Yes, ethanol is highly flammable and used as a fuel.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 11, 2024

How is ethanol produced?

Ethanol is mainly produced by fermenting sugars with yeast.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 11, 2024

How is ethanoic acid produced?

Ethanoic acid is produced by fermenting ethanol or oxidizing acetaldehyde.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 11, 2024

Is ethanoic acid safe to consume?

In dilute form as vinegar, ethanoic acid is safe and widely used in food.
Janet White
Feb 11, 2024

What safety precautions are needed for ethanoic acid?

Handling ethanoic acid requires protective equipment due to its corrosive nature.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 11, 2024

What is ethanol?

Ethanol is an alcohol used in beverages, as a biofuel, and a solvent.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 11, 2024

What are the physical properties of ethanol?

Ethanol is a colorless, volatile liquid with a distinctive smell.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 11, 2024

Is ethanoic acid corrosive?

Yes, in concentrated forms, ethanoic acid is corrosive.
Janet White
Feb 11, 2024

Can ethanoic acid be used in food preservation?

Yes, ethanoic acid is used as a preservative and flavor enhancer in food.
Harlon Moss
Feb 11, 2024

Is ethanoic acid used in medicine?

Ethanoic acid has limited use in medicine, primarily as an acidifying agent.
Harlon Moss
Feb 11, 2024

What is the freezing point of ethanol?

Ethanol has a low freezing point, making it useful in cold-temperature applications.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 11, 2024

What is the role of ethanol in alcoholic beverages?

Ethanol is the psychoactive component in alcoholic beverages.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 11, 2024

Can ethanol be used in cosmetics?

Yes, ethanol is used in perfumes and cosmetics for its solvent properties.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 11, 2024

What industries use ethanol?

The beverage, biofuel, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries use ethanol.
Harlon Moss
Feb 11, 2024

Can ethanoic acid be used in plastic production?

Yes, ethanoic acid is used in the production of certain plastics.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 11, 2024

What are the environmental impacts of ethanol?

Ethanol is biodegradable and less harmful to the environment than fossil fuels.
Harlon Moss
Feb 11, 2024

Is ethanoic acid biodegradable?

Yes, ethanoic acid is biodegradable and relatively environmentally friendly.
Janet White
Feb 11, 2024

How does ethanoic acid react with bases?

Ethanoic acid reacts with bases to form salts and water.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 11, 2024
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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