Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol, is a clear, colorless liquid with a faint odor. It's a versatile solvent and a key ingredient in a wide range of industrial and consumer products. Here are some common applications of methanol:

  1. Fuel: Methanol is used as a fuel in several contexts. It is often used in racing cars because it is less flammable than gasoline and produces less pollution. It can also be combined with gasoline in vehicles designed to run on "flex fuel."
  2. Formaldehyde Production: Methanol is used in the production of formaldehyde, a common ingredient in resins, plastics, and textiles.
  3. Antifreeze: Due to its low freezing point, methanol is often used as an antifreeze solution in pipelines and windshield washer fluid.
  4. Solvent: Methanol serves as an important solvent, used in the manufacture of numerous products, including paints and plastics.
  5. Denaturant for Ethanol: Methanol is added to ethanol to make it unfit for consumption. This process, known as denaturation, is used to prevent the misuse of industrial ethanol.
  6. Chemical Intermediate: Methanol is used in the manufacture of a large number of chemicals including acetic acid, formaldehyde, and a variety of plastics.
  7. Pharmaceuticals: Methanol serves as a solvent in the pharmaceutical industry, used in the production of certain drugs and medical treatments.
Methanol Application

While methanol has many uses, it's important to note that it is toxic and can be hazardous if ingested, inhaled, or comes into contact with the skin. Therefore, proper safety precautions should always be taken when handling methanol.