Isopropyl alcohol

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Isopropyl alcohol, also known as isopropanol, 2-propanol, IPA and rubbing alcohol amongst many other names, is a colourless liquid with distinctive alcohol odour and is used in the titration process of used cooking oil.

Physical data

  • Chemical formula: C3H8O
  • Appearance: colourless liquid with a distinctive alcohol odour
  • Melting point: -89° C
  • Boiling point: 82° C
  • Specific gravity: 0.79
  • Flash point: 12° C
  • Explosion limits: 2.0 % - 12 %
  • Auto ignition temperature: 425° C


May be harmful by inhalation, ingestion or skin absorption. May act as an irritant. Being an organic solvent, long term application to the skin can cause defatting.


Isopropyl alcohol vapor is denser than air and is highly flammable with a very wide combustible range. It should be kept away from heat and open flame.

Personal protection

  • Safety glasses
  • Effective ventilation

Use in biodiesel production

Isopropyl alcohol is readily available from many sources, locally and on line and is used as a solvent in the titration process. Only relatively small quantities are used for each titration, so it’s unnecessary to buy more than 2 or 3 litres at a time. For titration it’s preferable to purchase product that is as pure as possible. 99.9% purity isopropyl alcohol is not prohibitively expensive and should be your first choice.

Isopropyl alcohol is useful for rinsing vegetable oil from test equipment prior to washing and can be used, with care, around the house and workshop for small degreasing jobs such as cleaning electrical contacts and keyboards etc.

See also

Bio-rich-time-poor 23:38, 23 January 2011 (UTC)