Difference Between Alcohol And Phenol

The Key Difference Between Alcohol And Phenol is that Alcohol and phenol are both organic compounds and while they have similarities they also have a few differences.
Both alcohol and phenol are organic compounds. They contain one or more hydroxyl groups (-OH) in their structures. Pure forms of both these compounds are colorless but they can be found in a variety of colors. The toxicity of these compounds is very high. The structure of both these compounds is very similar. Alcohol and phenol are both used in many industries.

What is Alcohol

Alcohol is a clear, colorless chemical liquid that is an intoxicating ingredient in alcoholic beverages. Molecules of alcohol contain one or more hydroxyl groups (-OH) bound to a carbon atom. The -OH group is polar and thus water-soluble.
The number of hydroxyl groups and the lengths of their carbon chains determine whether a molecule is a simple alcohol (1-OH), primary alcohol (2-OH), secondary alcohol (2-OH), or tertiary alcohol (3-OH), or quaternary alcohol (4-OH).

Properties of Alcohol

  • Alcohol is an addictive, colorless, flammable liquid found in beverages such as beer, wine, and soft drinks. Produced by fermentation of sugar or starch with yeast.
  • Alcohol is a central nervous system depression that can lead to addiction, delayed speech, loss of coordination, and even death.
  • It is also a strong preservative and is used as a solvent and in medicine


Alcohol is used in alcoholic beverages such as wine, whiskey, and beer. It is used to produce methyl alcohol (methamphetamine), which is used as a flammable substance in some stoves and lamps, especially those designed for camping.

Also used to remove ink from non-porous surfaces. Metallic and plastic. Isopropyl alcohol is used as a cleaning agent, especially to clean glass.

Alcohol can also be rubbed to clean some tools and containers included in first aid kits, effectively cleaning scratches, cuts, and small abrasives. Alcohol is also used as a much more efficient fuel than natural fossil fuels like gasoline.


What is Phenol?

Phenol is a term that is used to refer to any compounds that have a hydroxyl (OH) group attached to a benzene ring. Phenols are used in a variety of different industries from being a fuel to being an important part of many types of plastics.

These compounds are used in so many different industries that anyone who works in an industry that works with any substances that contain a benzene ring should at least be familiar with the term Phenol.

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Properties of Phenol

  • The boiling point of phenol is 284 degrees Celsius.
  • It is a colorless liquid with a pungent odor.
  • It is soluble in water and is a weak acid.


Phenol is used as a preservative. It is also the active ingredient in some oral pain relievers such as Chloraseptic Spray, Carmex, and TCP. These pain relievers are used to temporarily treat a sore throat.

Phenol is an industrial component of paint strippers used in the aircraft industry to remove epoxy and other chemically resistant coatings.

Phenolic derivatives are also used in the formulation of cosmetic products such as sunscreens, hair dyes, and whitening ointments.

Difference Between Alcohols and Phenols

Alcohol is an organic compound with an –OH group as a functional group. Phenol is an aromatic hydrocarbon and is a derivative of benzene. It is also a type of alcohol.

Therefore, the main difference between alcohol and phenol is that alcohol is an organic compound with -OH groups as essential components while phenol is an alcoholic group with -OH groups and benzene ring as essential components. ..

Another important difference between alcohols and phenols is that the -OH in alcohols generally bonds to the sp3 hybrid carbon while in phenols it bonds to the sp2 hybrid carbon. Also, acidic phenol is much stronger than alcohol.


Alcohol is an organic compound. Phenol is a type of alcohol that has several properties. The main difference between alcohol and phenol is that alcohol is an organic compound with -OH groups as its essential component, but phenol is an alcohol group with -OH groups and a benzene ring as its essential ingredients.


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