Difference Between Ethanol and Ethanoic Acid (With Table)

People often confuse Ethanol and Ethanoic acid because of the similarity in their name. Except for this, the only common link between both is their physical state. Both are in liquid form and are colorless. Other than these two factors, both of the acids have many differences. 

Ethanol is simply alcohol that is a flammable and volatile liquid, also an alternative fuel source. It is a psychoactive substance as a recreational drug and an active ingredient in alcoholic drinks. Contrarily, Ethanoic acid is the succeeding carboxylic acid to the formic acid. Globally, its demand is up to 6.5 million metric tons per year.

Their density, smell, flavor, boiling, and melting points everything differs from one another. The molecular formula of ethanol is C2H5OH, and ethanoic acid is CH3COOH.

Ethanol vs Ethanoic Acid

The difference Between Ethanol and Ethanoic Acid is their odor and taste. Ethanol smells like a pleasant or scent. Conversely, Ethanoic acid is like sharp or vinegar. The former tastes bitter and burning, whereas the latter is sour. 

Comparison Table Between Ethanol and Ethanoic Acid

Parameters of ComparisonEthanol Ethanoic Acid
IUPAC NameInternational Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) name of an Ethanol is the same as it is called.International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) name of an Ethanoic acid is an Acetic acid.
Molecular FormulaeIts molecular formula is C2H5OH.Its molecular formula is CH3COOH.
Density0.789 g/cm31.05 g/cm3
OdorIt has a pleasant perfume-like odor.It has a pungent or vinegar smelling odor.
TasteIt is Burning and Bitter in taste.It is Sour in taste.
Boiling PointsIt has a boiling point of 78.37 ℃ or 173.1℉.It has a boiling point of 117.9 ℃ or 244.2 ℉.
Melting PointsIt has a melting point of -114.1 ℃ or -173.5℉.It has a melting point of 16.6 ℃ or 61.9 ℉.
Functional  GroupIt has alcohol (-OH) as a functional group.It has a carboxylic acid (-OOH) as a functional group.
Existence of other  GroupsEthyl and Hydroxyl groups exist in Ethanol.Methyl and Carboxyl groups exist in Ethanol.
The Litmus Paper TestIt exhibits a 7.33 pH scale at a concentration.It exhibits a 2 to 4 pH scale at a concentration.
NaHCO3 TestIt does not react with sodium bicarbonate.It reacts with sodium bicarbonate and releases CO2 gas.
Easter TestIt forms Ester only after reacting with the presence of ethanoic acid.It forms Ester after reacting with the presence of Sulphuric acid.
Molar Mass46.07 g/mol60.052 g/mol
Used ForIt can be used as a sterilizing agent or for making alcoholic beverages.It can be used as a toilet cleaner or for making vinegar.

What is Ethanol?

International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) name of an Ethanol is the same as it is called. Its molecular formula is ‘C2H5OH,’ the density it carries is 0.789 g/cm3. It has a bitter, burning taste and pleasant perfume-like odor. It can be used as a sterilizing agent or for making alcoholic beverages.

The molar mass of this acid is 46.07 g/mol. The melting point of Ethanol is  -114.1 ℃ or -173.5℉. And its boiling point is 78.37 ℃ or 173.1℉. Ethanol usually is formed using yeasts such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae or Schizo-saccharomyces during fermentation.

In the Litmus Paper Test, it exhibits a 7.33 pH (potential of hydrogen) scale. It does not react with sodium bicarbonate. It forms Ester only after reaction with the presence of ethanoic acid. It has alcohol (-OH) as a functional group. Other than this, there are Ethyl and Hydroxyl groups that exist.

What is Ethanoic Acid? 

International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) name of an Ethanoic acid is an Acetic acid. It has a sour taste and pungent or vinegar smelling odor. Its molecular formula is ‘CH3COOH,’ the density it carries is 1.05 g/cm3. It can be used as a toilet cleaner or for making vinegar.

It exhibits a 2-4 pH (potential of hydrogen) scale in the Litmus Paper Test. It reacts with sodium bicarbonate and releases CO2 gas. It also forms Ester after reaction with the presence of Sulphuric acid. It has a carboxylic acid (-OOH) as a functional group. Other than this, there are Methyl and Carboxyl groups that exist. 

The molar mass of this acid is 60.052 g/mol. While fermenting, Acetobacter bacteria forms Ethanoic acid. When Ethanoic acid passes through the lime liquid, it turns opaque and evolves into CO2 gas. Its boiling point is 17.9 ℃ or 244.2 ℉. And the melting point is 16.6 ℃ or 61.9 ℉. 

Main Differences Between Ethanol and Ethanoic Acid 

  1. The Molecular Formula of Ethanol is C2H5OH, whereas Ethanoic acid is CH3COOH.
  2. 0.789 g/cm3 is the density of ethanol, while 1.05 g/cm3 is ethanoic acid.
  3. The first has a pleasant perfume-like odor. On the contrary, the second has a pungent or vinegar smelling odor.
  4. The ethyl tastes little burning and bitter. The acetic acid tastes sour.
  5. Ethanol’s boiling point is 78.37 ℃ or 173.1℉. Conversely, Ethanoic acid’s 117.9 ℃ or 244.2 ℉.
  6. The melting point of the first is -114.1 ℃ or -173.5℉. On the other hand, the second one’s 16.6 ℃ or 61.9 ℉.
  7. The previous has alcohol (-OH) as a functional group. Contrarily, the succeeding has a carboxylic acid (-OOH).
  8. The ethanol exhibits a 7.33 pH scale in the litmus paper test, whereas ethanoic acid exhibits a 2 to 4 pH scale.
  9. The former does not react with sodium bicarbonate. Conversely, the latter does react and release CO2 gas.
  10. The molar mass of ethanol is 46.07 g/mol, while the molar mass of ethanoic acid is 60.052 g/mol.

Conclusion 

Nothing is common between ethanol and ethanoic acid. Both are colorless corrosive liquids. Ethanol is just an element that is mostly used in alcoholic drinks and drugs, whereas acetic acid in food in the form of vinegar and other additives.

While using them in their pure form, one needs to take safety measures first. The use of ethanol can create irritation for the skin and eyes. And its excessive use can be the reason for vomiting, indigestion, or damage to the liver. Ethanoic acid can also burn eyes and skin. Its excessive use can even harm the lungs or respiratory system.

References

  1. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/je300810p 
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378775301010679 
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022328X04004668 

This Article has been written by: Supriya Kandekar

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