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[*] posted on 29-3-2014 at 22:31
Where can I get relatively pure ethanol?


While I know it will be hard to get 100% due to moisture absorption, but is there any way to get clean ethanol in the USA? I have some reactions I want to run and denatured alcohol with methanol and whatever else they add into it will provide some very undesirable contaminants to my product that won't simply evaporate away. I would rather not have to distill anything.

Water in the ethanol is not an issue. I figured I could go down to the liquor store and pick up the highest concentration I can find, but do they even make alcohol without flavorings in it? My state doesn't sell Everclear to my knowledge.

I know for like $300 I could get a licenses to produce ethanol "fuel", but I am not sure if such a license is required for its purchase. Any suggestions?
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Chemosynthesis
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[*] posted on 29-3-2014 at 22:50


What volume of alcohol do you anticipate requiring?
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[*] posted on 29-3-2014 at 22:58


They usually have stuff that isnt purposley denatured, but often has trace chemicals to obtain the purity desired on ebay so still not good for any sort of food use but is quite pure.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Spectrum-Ethyl-alcohol-Ethanol-absol...




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[*] posted on 29-3-2014 at 22:58


Try the pharmacy, you can usually buy 70% pure ethanol labeled as "ethyl alcohol" diluted with water



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[*] posted on 29-3-2014 at 23:06


What reactions are you running? If it's just a solvent, isopropanol is often a good substitute.



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[*] posted on 29-3-2014 at 23:19


Quantities under 1000ml to start, but could be more if I need it later. I do not need it just as a solvent. Additives such as Acetone, Isopropyl Alcohol, Methanol, or any other alcohols or carbonyls will hurt the purity of my final product.

Water content of the alcohol wouldn't matter since the final products easily separate from water, so my best bet may just be trying to find the highest grade I can get at the liquor store.
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[*] posted on 29-3-2014 at 23:22


I guess you should get vodka with the highest repetition of distillations on the bottle. I've seen five times distilled go for $17 at some places, since it was purchased in bulk from non-Russian countries.
Edit- that was earlier this year, too, in a US market. I'm assuming your geography is analogous.

[Edited on 30-3-2014 by Chemosynthesis]
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essbee
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[*] posted on 30-3-2014 at 03:21
Ethanol


Don't you guys have E85 bio gasoline? 85% dry ethanol and 15% gas. A good chemist could distil off the low bp 15% without causing a serious fire and be left with ~100% ethanol.
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[*] posted on 30-3-2014 at 04:03


If your over 21 you can buy some Ever clear . Its 95 percent ethanol.



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[*] posted on 30-3-2014 at 06:25


Quote: Originally posted by essbee  
Don't you guys have E85 bio gasoline? 85% dry ethanol and 15% gas. A good chemist could distil off the low bp 15% without causing a serious fire and be left with ~100% ethanol.

I doubt that would be as simple as that. Gas is so complex of a mixture I am pretty sure you will have azeotropes that would need to be broken with clever vacuum work, or liquid phase column chromatography.
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[*] posted on 30-3-2014 at 07:11


Quote: Originally posted by numos  
Try the pharmacy, you can usually buy 70% pure ethanol labeled as "ethyl alcohol" diluted with water


I almost bought some of this 70% ethanol from Walgreens, but then I looked up the ingredients and found that along with being diluted with water, it had a ton of other stuff in it, making it not a viable option for any sort of lab use.
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[*] posted on 30-3-2014 at 11:01


Maybe you saw this useful thread recently:

https://www.sciencemadness.org/whisper/viewthread.php?tid=29...

Mixing this product here:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Klean-Strip-1-Qt-M-E-K-Substitute...

with this product there:

http://www.lowes.com/pd_486650-331-HD-CRY-DO_0__?productId=4...

gives a useful mess of sodium acetate and ethanol. The ethanol can be simply distilled right out of the can according to
the method described in this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DT35x-2aR6g

It does involve a distillation, albeit a simple one. A couple feet of refrigerator tubing pressed into the cap, with the can heated
gently in a warm water bath, might give the desired results.

My 2 cents....
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[*] posted on 30-3-2014 at 11:07


In California the liquor stores sell Everclear as a 75% alcohol/water mixture; in North Carolina (when I used to live there) Everclear was 95%. I don't know about other states. I've distilled the California Everclear to get a higher concentration. It's not super cheap, you pay a lot in taxes.

I have also distilled cheap wine to get alcohol. You could also brew your own.




Any other SF Bay chemists?
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[*] posted on 30-3-2014 at 11:55


You definitely need a license to buy ethanol for "fuel" that is not pre-mixed with gasoline or other nasties. If you only want small amounts, most liquor stores sell smaller bottles of relatively pure ethanol for flavor extractions and other uses, already taxed, but quite strong without flavoring. I have used such in the past, and know that some states allow that. Otherwise you will have to make your own, you could distill any of many sources, or even make your own starting material with sugar and yeast, it is easy to find directions on the internet for bioethanol, but it is not trivial to distill it, even to 95% purity. If it needs to be anhydrous, then it will be hard to get without work, or using denatured sources and purifying it, unless you can find an ATF license holder to buy it that way. That is a major pain as it is a government agency with little sense of humor or home science interest.
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[*] posted on 30-3-2014 at 11:57


Wisconsin has 95 percent.



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[*] posted on 30-3-2014 at 13:33


Quote: Originally posted by zts16  
Quote: Originally posted by numos  
Try the pharmacy, you can usually buy 70% pure ethanol labeled as "ethyl alcohol" diluted with water


I almost bought some of this 70% ethanol from Walgreens, but then I looked up the ingredients and found that along with being diluted with water, it had a ton of other stuff in it, making it not a viable option for any sort of lab use.


You're right, it does include some other ingredients :/ looks like I need a new source for ethanol. Although for cleaning it works great!




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[*] posted on 30-3-2014 at 16:34


Try buying a bottle of 95% everclear, you could dry it using standard methods for alcohols.
Maybe you could distill it over sodium?




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[*] posted on 30-3-2014 at 19:43


If you do not have access to Everclear and desire purity higher than 70%, I have bought 90% ethanol at a local hardware store. This is in Washington, but I think that if you want to purify it further, it is worth it to go the extra mile to get the 90% stuff as opposed to the 70% ethanol solution.
A method of drying simpler and safer than distillation over sodium would be to mix the alcohol with anhydrous magnesium sulfate.




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[*] posted on 31-3-2014 at 04:28


Quote: Originally posted by Chemosynthesis  
Quote: Originally posted by essbee  
Don't you guys have E85 bio gasoline? 85% dry ethanol and 15% gas. A good chemist could distil off the low bp 15% without causing a serious fire and be left with ~100% ethanol.

I doubt that would be as simple as that. Gas is so complex of a mixture I am pretty sure you will have azeotropes that would need to be broken with clever vacuum work, or liquid phase column chromatography.


Well it worked fine for me, double distilling got rid of a very slight 'oily' smell and then I used the 'pure' ethanol for extractions and synthesis with no problems at all.....'pretty sure' there were no azotropic issues.



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[*] posted on 31-3-2014 at 05:50


Quote: Originally posted by essbee  

Well it worked fine for me, double distilling got rid of a very slight 'oily' smell and then I used the 'pure' ethanol for extractions and synthesis with no problems at all.....'pretty sure' there were no azotropic issues.


That is impressive. I would be slightly leery to distill gasoline without vacuum, preferably inert atmosphere. I'm glad that worked for your purposes, but unless you have spectra available (preferably clean NMR), I am extremely skeptical that your ethanol was what I would consider pure, especially if you only re-distilled once. I know I've had to rotovap, and sometimes flash chromatograph multiple times to get clean spectra from single reactions stages. The complexity of gasoline, if the OP seems concerned about denatured or possibly absolute alcohol, is what I consider extreme. Other alcohols in particular, which the OP is concerned about, can be present in at least a few percent in gasoline; for this reason alone, compounded by the addition of alkenes and lack of knowledge of the specific reaction(s) intended, I would be reluctant to suggest it without additional data indicating a grade or standard of extraction purity. The variation of gasoline compositions between states, seasons, and sometimes counties doesn't even ensure repeatable sampling.
http://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/ethanol_e85_specs.html

http://www.us.edu.pl/uniwersytet/jednostki/wydzialy/chemia/a...

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp72-c3.pdf

edit meant re-distill, not distilled once.

[Edited on 31-3-2014 by Chemosynthesis]
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[*] posted on 31-3-2014 at 05:59


If you can't go buy your own ethanol, you could just make your own!
Just look up "how to make moonshine"! ;)




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[*] posted on 8-4-2014 at 17:50


I have the impression that 190 proof (95%) ethanol is sold in Oregon State Liquor stores. I also have the impression, that it costs about 60 bucks a gallon. Used to be the federal tax was about 30 bucks a gallon. AND, the feds really do want their tax money. They are deadly serious about it.

http://www.oregonliquorsearch.com/servlet/FrontController?vi...

[Edited on 9-4-2014 by zed]
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[*] posted on 9-4-2014 at 18:41


Texas has the 95% stuff. I don't understand why anybody would want to consume it, but I'm glad that they sell it, for the sake of chemistry.
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[*] posted on 15-4-2015 at 08:39


VA does not sell Everclear.
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[*] posted on 15-4-2015 at 10:13


A quote from an article about a Wisconsin lawmaker trying to ban Everclear:

"States that currently ban the sale of Everclear include California, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Washington, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Minnesota."

If you live in one of the above states (except Hawaii) just take a field trip to an adjacent state that sells it. Field trips to obtain reagents are one of the exciting aspects of this hobby.




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