Skeletal formula of methanol with some explicit hydrogens added
Spacefill model of methanol
Stereo skeletal formula of methanol with all explicit hydrogen added
Ball and stick model of methanol
Preferred IUPAC name
Other names
Columbian spirits
Methyl alcohol
Methyl hydrate
Methyl hydroxide
Methylic alcohol
Pyroligneous spirit
Wood alcohol
Wood naphtha
Wood spirit
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard100.000.599
EC Number200-659-6
RTECS numberPC1400000
UN number1230
or CH
Molar mass32.04 g mol−1
AppearanceColorless liquid
Density0.792 g/cm3[2]
Melting point−97.6 °C (−143.7 °F; 175.6 K)
Boiling point64.7 °C (148.5 °F; 337.8 K)
log P−0.69
Vapor pressure13.02 kPa (at 20 °C)
Acidity (pKa)15.5[3]
−21.40·10−6 cm3/mol
Viscosity0.545 mPa·s (at 25 °C) [5]
1.69 D
Safety data sheetSee: data page
GHS pictogramsThe flame pictogram in the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) The skull-and-crossbones pictogram in the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) The health hazard pictogram in the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)[6]
GHS signal wordDanger [6]
H225, H301, H311, H331, H370[6]
P210, P233, P240, P241, P242, P243, P260, P264, P270, P280, P301+310, P303+361+353, P304+340, P330, P363, P370+378, P403+233, P235, P405, P501[6]
NFPA 704
Flash point11 to 12 °C (52 to 54 °F; 284 to 285 K)
470[7] °C (878 °F; 743 K)
Explosive limits6–36%[8]
Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):
5628 mg/kg (rat, oral)
7300 mg/kg (mouse, oral)
12880 mg/kg (rat, oral)
14200 mg/kg (rabbit, oral)[9]
64,000 ppm (rat, 4 h)[9]
33,082 ppm (cat, 6 h)
37,594 ppm (mouse, 2 h)[9]
US health exposure limits (NIOSH):
PEL (Permissible)
TWA 200 ppm (260 mg/m3)[8]
REL (Recommended)
TWA 200 ppm (260 mg/m3) ST 250 ppm (325 mg/m3) [skin][8]
IDLH (Immediate danger)
6000 ppm[8]
Related compounds
Related compounds
Supplementary data page
Refractive index (n),
Dielectric constantr), etc.
Phase behaviour
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
N verify (what is YesYN ?)
Infobox references

Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol among others, is a chemical with the formula CH3OH (often abbreviated MeOH). Methanol acquired the name wood alcohol because it was once produced chiefly by the destructive distillation of wood. Today, methanol is mainly produced industrially by hydrogenation of carbon monoxide.[11]

Methanol is the simplest alcohol, consisting of a methyl group linked to a hydroxyl group. It is a light, volatile, colorless, flammable liquid with a distinctive odor similar to that of ethanol (drinking alcohol).[12] Methanol is however far more toxic than ethanol. At room temperature, it is a polar liquid. With more than 20 million tons produced annually, it is used as a precursor to other commodity chemical, including formaldehyde, acetic acid, methyl tert-butyl ether, as well as a host of more specialized chemicals.[11]


Small amounts of methanol is found in normal, healthy human individuals, concluded by one study which found a mean of 4.5 ppm in the exhaled breath of subjects.[13] The mean endogenous methanol in humans of 0.45 g/d may be metabolized from pectin found in fruit; one kilogram of apple produces up to 1.4 g methanol.[14]

Methanol is produced naturally in the anaerobic metabolism of many varieties of bacteria and is commonly present in small amounts in the environment. As a result, the atmosphere contains a small amount of methanol vapor. Atmospheric methanol is oxidized by air in sunlight to carbon dioxide and water over the course of days.

Interstellar medium

Methanol is also found in abundant quantities in star-forming regions of space and is used in astronomy as a marker for such regions. It is detected through its spectral emission lines.[15]

In 2006, astronomers using the MERLIN array of radio telescopes at Jodrell Bank Observatory discovered a large cloud of methanol in space, 288 billion miles across.[16][17] In 2016, astronomers detected methyl alcohol in a planet-forming disc around the young star TW Hydrae using ALMA radio telescope.[18]

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