April 03, 2020, 08:40:00 PM
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Topic: Determine the existence of methanol (CH3OH) in Ethanol (C2H5OH) (technically)  (Read 374 times)

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Offline xeebexa

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As you all know some folks attempt to produce their own wine and alcoholic drinks, while logically speaking it would the best to just purchase your drinks from the best brands, still it is a personal preference.

Now let's just assume someone produces ethanol following a simple recipe from
https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Alcohol-from-Common-Table-Sugar
, what are the chances of methanol production?

And how can the percentage of methanol be determined in a drink?
Thank you.
 

Offline jeffmoonchop

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Distill it, keep it at 70C, methanol boils off and leaves ethanol behind.

Offline Borek

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Distill it, keep it at 70C, methanol boils off and leaves ethanol behind.

I wouldn't risk drinking.
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Offline xeebexa

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Distill it, keep it at 70C, methanol boils off and leaves ethanol behind.
Well thank you but there is still the possibility of methanol remaining behind using that procedure, and yet you still did not tell me how to actually 'determine' if there exists methanol in the solution at all?

Offline Borek

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you still did not tell me how to actually 'determine' if there exists methanol in the solution at all?

Mostly because it is not trivial.

The only methods I would trust are gas chromatography and mass spectrography, both out of reach of a hobbyist.
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Offline xeebexa

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you still did not tell me how to actually 'determine' if there exists methanol in the solution at all?

Mostly because it is not trivial.

The only methods I would trust are gas chromatography and mass spectrography, both out of reach of a hobbyist.

I am terribly sorry, but when you say "it is not trivial" you mean the whole subject is not important, or you mean  the amount of methanol produced using sugar and yeast method is very low to worry about?

Offline Enthalpy

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Can there be any methanol produced from sucrose fermentation?

When making wine or beer, sucrose and other sugars transform to ethanol. No distillation nor separation follows. Any harmful concentration of methanol would be known by now.

Possibly it needs some skills, like the choice of proper yeast.

Or did I miss something?

Offline Babcock_Hall

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@OP, I surmise that what Borek meant was that it is not trivial to find the concentration of methanol within a solution of ethanol.  They are similar molecules.  GC, especially coupled to MS, is clearly up to the job, but the cost of buying and operating such equipment is substantial.

Offline xeebexa

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@OP, I surmise that what Borek meant was that it is not trivial to find the concentration of methanol within a solution of ethanol.  They are similar molecules.  GC, especially coupled to MS, is clearly up to the job, but the cost of buying and operating such equipment is substantial.
I understand thank you. Well I am not chemically inclined so I was hoping that well educated chemical engineers could give me a hint that is simple and doable for a hobbyist something like burning the solution and checking the color of the flame.

Well you see in normal situations I would not bother making my own alcohol, but in recent days considering the spread of corona virus I was thinking about making some ethanol concentrated solution (80% ethanol 20% water) for the purpose of cleaning me and my family's hands with it and such because local drug stores used to sell me the ethanol solution and I would use that for sanitation purposes but in the last week or so there has been a shortage and they say they are out. and because I know that methanol is really really dangerous and toxic even in really tiny amount I wanted to be sure that the thing I make does not have any methanol or any other dangerous chemicals in it.

Offline billnotgatez

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Upon reading the link from the OP, I can not see why we are even mentioning Methanol doing this process. We have been making ethanol beverages this way without having methanol for ages. Please educate me.

Offline xeebexa

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Upon reading the link from the OP, I can not see why we are even mentioning Methanol doing this process. We have been making ethanol beverages this way without having methanol for ages. Please educate me.
You are 101% right, we have been doing it for thousands of years. BUT the problem is a big "what if" and by that I mean what if the sugar I use has some kind of wood or I don't know something in it that can cause methanol production. In either way wouldn't it be better just to be sure you are not breathing or rubbing methanol all over your face and hands?

Offline jeffmoonchop

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Use soap

Offline Enthalpy

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Soap here too.

I wouldn't worry at all about methanol. It's only that alcoholic fermentation takes very long, the virus will be outfashioned by then, and you need to distil the ethanol, which has much bigger chances of killing you by explosion than the virus.

Distilling vodka would be a faster way than fermenting sucrose.

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