Isopropanol and isopropyl alcohol
Name: Rob G.
Date: Saturday, October 12, 2002
What is the difference between isopropanol and isopropyl alcohol?
Different common names for the same chemical. There is another isomer
n-propanol or n-propyl alcohol.
They are the same substance. HOWEVER, "isopropanol" is an incorrect mix of
two different naming systems. The "ol" suffix is part of the IUPAC system of
nomenclature. The "iso" prefix is part of the common system of nomenclature.
The two systems should not be mixed together. Alas, even authors of
chemistry texts -- people who should know better if they are to lead -- make
the mistake of blending the nomenclature systems.
Same thing. The actual systematic name for the stuff is 2-propanol. The
name "isopropanol" is actually a combination of two naming systems, so is
neither fish nor fowl. A chemist will be able to recognize the material
from any of the names, though.
Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
Director of Academic Programs
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois
2 names, 1 chemical
They are both identically the same molecule but just with different names.
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Update: June 2012