Iso Propanol (or 2-propanol) is a structural isomer of propanol and has the molecular formula of C3H8O. It is a clear, colourless liquid and has a distinctive strong alcohol or acetone-like odour. This solvent is highly flammable, with a flashpoint of around 11 – 13° C. Iso propanol is soluble in most solvents, including water.
Iso propanol is chemically manufactured by combining water and propene. There are 2 chemical processes for creating iso propanol. One is through indirect hydration and the other is direct hydration. The indirect hydration method is a reaction between propene and sulphuric acid to create sulphate esters. This product then undergoes hydrolysis. This method can use a low quality propene because of the mixture with sulphuric acid. The direct method manufactures the product by reacting propene and water in with an acid catalyst. The propene for this method needs to be of a high quality. In both the above methods, the mixture of water and by-products need to go through a distillation process to separate out the iso propanol (around 90% purity).
Storage and Distribution
A solvent stockist would have a bulk petrochemical storage facility to maintain the product. Storage is normally in a cool, dry and well ventilated facility away from oxidising agents. Iso propanol should be kept out of direct sunlight, heat and open flames. Solvents such as iso propanol should be stored in drummed containers such as isotanks made of stainless steel, aluminium or carbon steel.
A bulk solvent exporter would normally distribute this solvent in bulk vessels or tank trucks. For transportation purposes, isop propanol is classed as a flammable liquid with a fire hazard rating of 3. A full bulk chemical distributor would export the solvent throughout regions such as the UK, Europe, Africa and America. This product is a packing group 2.
The largest use of iso propanol is as a solvent, cleaning product and a chemical intermediate. It can be found in paints, thinners for wood furnishings, inks, cosmetics, toiletries, household cleaning products, specialist cleaning products and room sprays. It can also be used as an anti-freeze and plays an important part in making the water component of petrol more soluble so that it doesn’t freeze. Iso propanol can also be used as a biological specimen preservative with a solution mixture of around 90%. The main user end markets for this product are the motor, paints, cosmetics and cleaning industries.