Is alcohol an acid or base ??

1 Answer
Apr 16, 2018

It's neither, but sometimes both (confusing, right?).


By the Arrhenius definition of an acid and base, alcohol is neither acidic nor basic when dissolved in water, as it neither produces H+ nor OH- in solution.

When alcohol, though, reacts with very strong bases or very strong acidic solutions, it can act as an acid (giving out its #H^+#) or a base (releasing its #-OH^-#). But that's something very difficult to achieve and under very special conditions.

Alcohol is neither acidic nor basic under “normal” conditions (e.g. water). But in theory, it can actually behave as both depending on your reaction conditions.