Why is isopropyl alcohol soluble in water?

1 Answer
Write your answer here...
Start with a one sentence answer
Then teach the underlying concepts
Don't copy without citing sources


Write a one sentence answer...



Explain in detail...


I want someone to double check my answer

Describe your changes (optional) 200

Dec 20, 2015


Isopropyl alcohol is soluble in water because it can form strong hydrogen bonds to the water.


The solubility of an alcohol in water is a competition between two parts of the molecule: the polar #"OH"# group and the nonpolar hydrocarbon portion.

The molecule must push the water molecules apart to form a solution, breaking the hydrogen bonds in the water molecules in the process.

The energy required to break the hydrogen bonds in water is compensated by the energy that is released when water forms hydrogen bonds to the alcohol #"OH"# group.

But the alkyl portion of the molecule must separate the water molecules, with no compensating release of energy.

In isopropyl alcohol, more energy is released by forming hydrogen bonds at the #"OH"# "head" than is required to break them by the alkyl "tail".

So, isopropyl alcohol is soluble in water in all proportions.

If the alkyl group contains more than six carbon atoms, the alkyl group outweighs the #"OH"# group, and the alcohol becomes "insoluble" in water.

Was this helpful? Let the contributor know!
Impact of this question
4419 views around the world
You can reuse this answer
Creative Commons License