# Why is ethyl alcohol flammable?

Mar 23, 2018

Because it is unstable with respect to oxidation....

#### Explanation:

...and the formation of STABLE carbon dioxide, and STABLE water provide a thermodynamic driving force to the reaction...

${H}_{3} \stackrel{{\text{^(-)III)C-stackrel(""^(-)I)CH_2OH(l) +3O_2(g)rarr2stackrel(}}^{+} I V}{C} {O}_{2} \left(g\right) + 3 {H}_{2} O \left(l\right)$

$\Delta {H}_{\text{combustion of ethyl alcohol}}^{\circ} = - 1371 \cdot k J \cdot m o {l}^{-} 1$

On the other hand, ethane combusts according to ....

H_3stackrel(""^(-)III)C-CH_3 +7/2O_2 rarr 2CO_2(g) + 3H_2O

$\Delta {H}_{\text{combustion of ethane}}^{\circ} = - 1560 \cdot k J \cdot m o {l}^{-} 1$..because we can make more $C = O$ bonds here from the parent ethane, the reaction is a little more energetic....