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Last updated date: 29th Nov 2023
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MVSAT Dec 2023

Convert Methyl alcohol into Ethyl alcohol.

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Hint: Methyl alcohol is also called methanol. Similarly, ethyl alcohol is also called ethanol. This question will require many steps to form ethyl alcohol. Its not a single step equation. Use of reducing agents will be needed.

Complete answer:
Step 1; We will convert methyl alcohol into chloromethane.
For this, methyl alcohol is reacted with hydrogen chloride. This leads to substitution of the alcoholic group and gives it as chloromethane.
\[C{H_3}OH + HCl \to C{H_3}Cl + {H_2}O\]
Step 2: We will convert chloromethane into ethanenitrile with the help of aqueous solution of potassium cyanide. It forms ethanenitrile.
\[C{H_3}Cl + KCN \to C{H_3}CN + KCl\]
Step 3: Now this ethanenitrile we will convert into ethanoic acid. This reaction proceeds as we react ethanenitrile in hot acidic or alkaline medium, is hydrolysed and leads into formation of ethanoic acid.
\[C{H_3}CN\xrightarrow{{{H^ + },{H_2}O}}C{H_3}COOH\]
Step 4: When reduction of ethanoic acid is carried out, in the presence of strong reducing agents such as \[LiAl{H_4}\], it leads to the formation of ethyl alcohol or ethanol
\[C{H_3}COOH\xrightarrow[{{H^ + },{H_2}O}]{{LiAl{H_4}/ether}}C{H_3}C{H_2}OH\].

Additional knowledge: Methyl alcohol is also called methanol. They are also referred to as wood alcohol. It is a clear liquid with the chemical formula\[C{H_3}OH\]. It is clear liquid with polar properties making it a good solvent. It is highly inflammable and toxic for humans.

Methanol was created when the main sugar in wood and some other plants were fermented by bacteria. This led to formation of a harmful deadly drink. Ethanol is made from high purity ethylene, using a high selectivity catalyst.