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Do not mix up  your alcohols.  This is not a warning of the type “wine after beer makes you feel queer”  but an explanation of some rather confusing product names.
There are two kinds of alcohol
  • Ethyl alcohol – also known as booze
  • Isopropyl alcohol, or isopropanol (also known as rubbing alchohol or surgical spirit)
Ethyl alcohol
  • is a colourless volatile flammable liquid which is the intoxicating constituent of wine, beer, spirits, and other drinks,
  • It is produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts.
  • It is a one of the oldest recreational drugs used by humans.
  • Its structural formula, CH3CH2OH, is often abbreviated as C2H5OH, C2H6O or EtOH.

Isopropyl alcohol, or isopropanol (also known as rubbing alchohol or surgical spirit) is made from propene derived from fossil fuels (oil) and water. You can read more about it here

Ethyl alcohol

Uses include

  • The ones that don’t really concern us – as a fuel, an industrial solvent, preservative for biological specimens fuel.,  a solvent in the manufacture of varnishes and perfumes.

From a plastic free perspective it can be used as a

  • perfume base
  • disinfectant
  • to make essences and flavorings
  • and tinctures
  • As A Cleaner

Short alcohols are what chemists call Amphiphilic; they interact favourably with both polar and non-polar things.

So if you add a bunch of alcohol to your grease the alcohol starts mixing with it. It mixes with it all over (because it is amphiphilic), but one of the important ways it mixes is by getting in between the long fatty chains. This helps liquefy the grease because the long fatty chains packing together is what makes grease a solid; if you stick something small in between the long grease chains they effectively melt (similar to plasticizing agents in polymers).

So why not use ONLY alcohol? Because while alcohol interacts favourably with all of the grease, it can’t actually dissolve much of it on a weight of grease per volume alcohol basis. You can dissolve (note this is not the correct technical term, but is serviceable for us) much, much more fat into water with soap. From Reddit

Buy

you can buy  pure Ethanol from eBay. This is 95% alcohol. Do not drink it. Keep it out of the way of children ( which includes daft teenagers). It must be used carefully. Then there is the issue of packaging. It will probably come in  a plastic bottle and plastic packaging.

Then you have to consider  the additives. Denatured, or industrial, alcohol is ethanol mixed with unpleasant additives making it undrinkable. Obviously you cannot use this to make essences flavourings and tinctures.

The other option is to buy the highest proof booze you can find.

What Is Proof

Alcohol proof is a measure of the content of ethanol (alcohol) in an alcoholic beverage. The term was originally used in the United Kingdom and was equal to about 1.75 times the alcohol by volume (ABV). The UK now uses the ABV standard instead of alcohol proof. Alcohol proof – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The proof then comes out to be about 1.75 times the alcohol by volume percentage. So when alcohol is described as 100% proof it works out at roughly 50% actual ethanol (alcohol) to water.
100% Alchohol
So forget proof lets go for percent – is it possible to get 100% alcohol? Apparently not. This webpage explains why
The highest proof alcohol you can buy is Everclear, at 190 proof. That’s nothing! Let’s get together and make an alcohol that’s 200 proof! Except we can’t possibly do that. There’s a physical limit to how pure alcohol can actually get, and we’ll tell you why.

 

How is industrial ethanol made
If you want to find out how ethanol is made (for industrial uses rather than home brew I mean),  check out this informative website.

Difference between ethanol and vodka Ethanol is ~96% ethanol, 4% water.  Vodka around  40% alcohol to 60% water.

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