What happens when ethanol burns?

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justaguide | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

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Ethanol is a chemical compound made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms. The chemical formula of ethanol is `CH_3CH_2OH` .

When ethanol is burnt, it reacts with oxygen and produces water and carbon dioxide. The chemical equation of the combustion of ethanol is:

`CH_3CH_2OH + 3O_2 -> 2CO_2 + 3H_2O`

The combustion of ethanol is an exothermic reaction. In addition to the formation of new compounds, the chemical reaction that takes place when ethanol is burnt also releases a lot of heat, 277.7 kJ per mole of ethanol.

In summary, when ethanol burns, it reacts with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide, water and heat.

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