Date: Around 1999
why does alcohol evaporate faster than other liquids?
Well, actually maybe a better way of phrasing it would be why does water
evaporate slower than other liquids. Water is among the slowest
evaporating liquids for its mass because of hydrogen bonding, where the
oxygen and hydrogen in water (H-OH) molecules form bonds with other water
molecules. Those bonds are strong enough to form a tangled network of
bonds in water which tends to make them stick together. Alcohol molecules
(methanol CH3-OH, ethanol CH3-CH2-OH) can also form hydrogen bonds (because
of the OH), but because the carbon parts of them can't hydrogen bond, they
evaporate faster than water.
Donald Yee Ph.D.
San Francisco Estuary Institute
180 Richmond Field Station
1325 South 46th St. Richmond, CA 94804
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Update: June 2012