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Denatured Alcohol vs Methyl Hydrate

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Denatured Alcohol vs Methyl Hydrate

Old 07-13-05, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by phidauex
Before and after work, where I'm paid to think about that kind of stuff all day.

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P.S. Sometimes I think about that sort of stuff WHILE I ride, but don't tell my riding partners, or they'll realize I'm not listening to them.
If you ride alone, you don't have to worry about what your ride partners think. At least not what the real ones think
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Old 07-13-05, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Ethanol is a poison. It's just slower than methanol. Ingest too much of it over a short time span and it causes respiratory arrest. Colorado has had at several deaths in the last year die this way.
Interestingly, table salt (NaCl) has an LD50 (dose at which 50% of those tested will die) of 3000mg / kilogram of body weight, while ethanol has an LD50 of 7060mg/kg, making salt about twice as toxic as ethanol. The poison, they say, is in the dose.

Ethanols problem isn't that it is toxic, it is that something about it inspires people to consume far too much of it, far too fast (quite a problem recently in my native town of Ft. Collins, as you mentioned). If salt made you feel like booze does, we'd be seeing a lot more deaths from it. Actually, there are very few 'non-food' chemicals that wouldn't injure or kill us if consumed with the fervor of ethanol.

Anyway, at some point its just a metaphysical debate about what constitutes 'poison', but in general you are right, ethanol isn't perfectly safe.

I use large quantities of methanol in the production of biodiesel (we buy in 55 gallon drums), and I'm comfortable with its use. We always work with it outdoors, or in poweffully ventilated garages, we use sealed reactors that limit vapor escape, and we always wear neoprene gloves while using it. Interestingly methanol goes through latex like it was tissue paper, so latex gloves don't help. Also interestingly, methanol passes right through most respirators, even those meant for solvents. You need a delivered air system for safe exposure to methanol vapors. We don't use any air system, and keep ourselves safe by limited vapor production in the first place. No one in our group has ever experienced a symptom that we attributed to methanol exposure, though a fellow in another group (who was using a highly non-recommended open top reactor) peered into his reactor, accidentally breathed in, got a big hit of methanol, and proceeded to have a pretty miserable few days. He's ok, but it was a close call.

Anyway, I suppose my point is that methanol is OK to use, as long as you keep its effects in consideration. Use gloves, use it outside, don't get it on your skin, and don't breath the fumes. There are safer cleaners available, so I'd only use methanol if its the only thing I had lying around.

peace,
sam
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Old 07-13-05, 07:22 PM
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I'm sure you could find many chemists that would say its (MeOH) not really that dangerous (myself included). And yes everything is poison in excess. Even water has a lethal dose.
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Old 07-14-05, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Enthalpic
I'm sure you could find many chemists that would say its (MeOH) not really that dangerous (myself included). And yes everything is poison in excess. Even water has a lethal dose.
In a lab environment, using the proper precautions, I would agree that methanol isn't that dangerous nor as toxic as other things I could mention. I've used it in largeish quanitities in heated sealed reactors and don't have a problem with it. But I also have it in a hood under conditions that limit my exposure if something goes wrong and I wear personal protective equipment when I handle it. Plus I have 25 year experience dealing with it and other chemicals. Most home consumers don't have any experience dealing with it nor do they have any knowledge of the hazards of the compound itself. That's why this forum is so useful. We who do have knowledge of the material can impart our wisdom to those who don't.

As I've said before, if you have to use it, use it in the smallest quantity that you can, use it with proper ventilation, use gloves and be aware of the hazards. And, if you possibly can, find some "real" denatured ethanol, not the high methanol mixtures.
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Old 07-14-05, 09:10 AM
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Enthalpic, I agree with cyccommute: why advise people who don't have a lot of experience with chemicals or lab safety that it's okay to use something that obviously requires a lot of care in handling, especially when there are safer alternatives?

Question for all of youse chemist types. After use of these chemicals, are there proper and improper disposal techniques? If so, I'm sure that the OP might want to know them. Oddly, little details like this aren't always readily available.

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Old 07-14-05, 09:17 AM
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Small quantities of methanol can actually go right into the sewer system. I know it sounds odd, but methanol is destroyed pretty quickly by microbial digestion. It may be different in different areas, but that is what I was told by water treatment people here in St. Louis, when we were asking about the effects of small quantities of methanol getting into the sewer system as a byproduct of biodiesel production. They said, "If its less than a liter at a time, its no problem." You just don't want to overload the system.

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Old 07-14-05, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Raiyn
Because Isopropyl Alcohol is commonly sold watered down, and I'd rather buy more go than no. It will work but Denatured works better
The drug stores around here carry two strengths of rubbing alcohol. The highest strength is normally 91%. Still strong enough to use for cleaning.
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Old 07-14-05, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by phidauex

Methanol is highly toxic, like mentioned, but ironically, exposure to ethanol can limit the poisonous effects of methanol. Methanol is metabolized by your alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme into formaldehyde, which is terribly toxic stuff (of course), and really the bad part about methanol. However, if you consume ethanol, your body will work on the ethanol before beginning to work on the methanol, which can give your kidneys time to remove the methanol and pee it out before you actually metabolize it. Really truly wicked hangovers (the kind with the splitting headache) are usually caused by methanol poisoning, since bourbon, red wine and brandy all contain high levels of methanol as side fermentation products that aren't removed through filtration, and may be concentrated through non-fractional distillation (ol' fashin' pot stillin'). You don't feel the effects during the night, but if you get enough methanol in you, your body will begin to metabolize it come morning, and you begin to feel the toxic effects. Interestingly, this means that the 'hair of the dog that bit you' cure for a hangover actually has some merit, a shot of liqour in the morning can get some ethanol in your system, and 'distract' the alcohol dehydrogenase enzymes long enough for your body to expel the unmetabolized methanol. I recommend vodka, since it has the lowest methanol content of any of the spirits, due to how it is made.


sam



Forgot to mention before that there are quite a few of us out there without this valuable little enzyme. What happens then?


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Old 07-14-05, 03:41 PM
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Forgot to mention before that there are quite a few of us out there without this valuable little enzyme. What happens then?
Well.. I know there are three expressions of the alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme gene, fast, medium, and slow, as they are called.. People with the 'slow' expression increase their risk of heart disease when they consume alcohol, while people with fast and medium expressions decrease their risk of heart disease with moderate consumption of alcohol. How this relates to methanol toxicity I don't know. Alcohol processing is a system, more than just a single enzyme, so its likely that it would still be toxic, and its likely that ethanol would still depress that systems ability to handle methanol simultaneously. However, thats just a guess. I wouldn't take your enzymatic status to mean you are invulnerable to methanol, however.

peace,
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Old 07-14-05, 03:49 PM
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Heh heh. Actually the opposite. I was concerned that my reactivity to alcohol would make me more vulnerable to everything that the alcohol processing system, as you referred to it, is vulnerable too. I'm thinking in particular of the 'worst hangovers' liquors you described above.

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Old 07-14-05, 08:26 PM
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Scary.. i used to clean stuff all the time with methyl hydrate, getting it all over my hands. I just assumed "it's alcohol - it's fine"..

eek!
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Old 07-14-05, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Kabloink
The drug stores around here carry two strengths of rubbing alcohol. The highest strength is normally 91%. Still strong enough to use for cleaning.
Same here, but I still prefer Denatured as I'm not paying for water in my alcohol and it also keeps it from disappearing into the first aid kit or something
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Old 07-16-05, 03:02 AM
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If your in Australia and looking for some. Don't ask for Dentured Alcohol, ask for Methylated Spirts. Its the exact same, they just call it different down under.
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Old 03-06-19, 08:33 PM
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Klean Strip denatured alcohol

I live in BC and I just bought Klean strip denatured alcohol at Ace Hardware in the Lower Mainland. It was $8.50 for 946 milliliter. They also had a larger size. Ace Hardware does have locations scattered across Canada.
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Old 03-06-19, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by phidauex
Methyl Hydrate is a stupid synonym for Methanol, aka Methyl Alcohol.
Sort of like referring to water as "hydrogen hydroxide" or "oxygen dihydride"... both very toxic!
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Old 03-06-19, 09:38 PM
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Thirteen+ years.
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Old 03-07-19, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by AnkleWork
Thirteen+ years.
Really well-preserved! Sort of ironic, considering the topic... methanol is particularly poisonous because it is converted to formaldehyde in the liver. Formaldehyde is basically embalming fluid. Ethanol becomes acetaldehyde, which is less toxic.
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Old 03-07-19, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by cmfx_2
I can't find info on the web about a comparison of the two. Would just like to know if the Methyl Hydrate is an acceptable replacement for denatured alcohol?
A compact organic chemistry primer: Organic chemistry is the chemistry of carbon compounds. The simplest is methane. That has one carbon and four hydrogens. Ethane has two carbons and 6 hydrogens. And Propane has three carbons and 8 hydrogens.

CH4, C2H6, or C3H8

If we sneak in an oxygen between a carbon and one of its hydrogens, it becames an alcohol. The key "group" of an alcohol is that it has a -OH somewhere rather than an -H. You can make alcohols from the above compounds* to get methanol (wood alcohol, also called methyl hydrate), ethanol (grain alcohol, which is the stuff in white lightning and vodka and beer), and propanol. Since in propanol the carbons are bonded together in a chain (C1 to C2, and C2 to C3), there is a difference between propanols with the -OH on the center carbon, or on one end or another. If the -OH is in the center, its called isopropanol. Rubbing alcohol is made from either or isopropanol or ethyl alcohol mixed with bitterants and toxins to the latter to preclude use as a beverage. BTW, if methyl alcohol is added as the toxin to ethyl alcohol, its called methylated spirits. So methanol, ethanol, and propanol (also called methyl, ethyl, or propyl alcohol).

CH3OH, C2H5OH, C3H7OH

Your question centers on the physical chemistry of these alcohols, to wit, "Can I clean my brake discs with any of these?". Unless you drink them, all of these have pretty low toxicity. Id use gloves with methyl alcohol. Obviously, isopropyl alcohol as rubbing alcohol works as a cleaner. Ethyl alcohol-based rubbing alcohols probably work too - I think that they use them in Oz (called "metho" down under). To your point, methyl alcohol probably has some of the physical chemistry properties you want (that is, it might clean stuff and leave them oil and hydraulic-fluid-free), but I suspect that isopropanol might work the best of the three.

Summary: Methyl hydrate is methanol, and it might work to clean discs but I suspect that isopropanol or ethanol (look for rubbing alcohol, denatured alcohol, or methylated spirits) will work better.

*Conceptually - this is not how alcohol is made commercially.

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Old 03-07-19, 11:39 AM
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Depends on which English you speak " Denatured alcohol, also called methylated spirit (in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom)"
>>> and Ireland .. Maybe Canada too (other than PQ, ) but you got french & english labeling, right ?


Know there are 2 alcohols ; Ethanol ..C2H5OH. Potable varieties include Vodka ..... 200 proof is pure, un cut 100 proof is half..

and Methanol.. Distilled from Methane "Natural Gas" CH4


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denatured_alcohol

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol

Alcohol for camp stove fuel a hardware store Item , or Marine Yacht supplies ,

an alcohol fuel leak evaporates up ...
Gasoline/Propane, vapor steeles in the bilges , and goes Boom! , Not a good thing ... being on a boat on fire..






....

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Old 03-07-19, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Methanol is highly toxic and easily absorbed through the skin. Used by someone who has no knowledge of what it is or how dangerous it is, it could cause a great deal of harm especially if they don't take proper precautions.

So, no, it's not FINE to use. It may work but you should be knowledgable about what you are using and how to use it as with any solvent.
Highly toxic? I think that this needs a more complete description. Methanol is definitely toxic if you drink it an amount of it. But methanol is present naturally in the blood at levels ranging from 1.7 to 3.4 mg/liter (which is the about the same as parts per million). The body processes methanol to produce formaldehyde, which is processed to produced formic acid (formate). Formaldehyde and formic acid are also present normally in the body. The body and tissue are not damaged by methanol or byproducts at normal levels, and the body can clear (process) these compounds at normal physiological levels. The problem is when you ingest or absorb more methanol than the body can process, and you get build-up of formaldehyde and formate. This messes up the blood chemistry severely and this causes blindness and death. You want to limit your body's uptake of methanol is below the point where formaldehyde and formic acid processing is overwhelmed.

Methanol can be produced in making up moonshine and this is the cause of blindness from moonshine. BTW, My grandfather was a baker in the Navy, and his shipmates always were trying to steal bread to filter the bathtub gin they produced on board. Not sure how well that worked removing methanol, but I remember him telling me about it. Anyway, I wouldn't intentionally ingest any methanol, but one source specified a half milliliter as safe for ingestion. As little as 10 ml (two teaspoons, or about a third of an ounce) can give you significant trouble (eye damage or blindness), whereas 30 ml to 100ml (rougly 1 to 4 ounces) can prove fatal. So don't drink any quantity of methanol.

Absorption through the skin is another issue. It takes a heck of a dermal exposure to absorb the equivalent of an oral 10ml dose. The source below had folks stick one hand in pure methanol for up to 16 minutes. That source is flawed (it should have reported any adverse effects, but only stated that some subjects hands were white and dried after the test). But still, the rise in blood methanol after 16 minutes of the entire hand being immersed were still below levels considered toxic (for the record, the max avg methanol concentration ranged from 8.1 - 16.5 mg/dl and the total amount absorbed was estimated by various methods as between 166 and 1506 milligrams. This is about 0.15 to 1.5 ml of pure methanol. The upshot is that this extreme exposure did not give rise to toxic levels.

That said, I'd agree that I'd wear gloves if I was cleaning bike parts with it. But again, I'd prefer isopropanol or ethanol-based rubbing alcohol. The larger molecules might be better solvents for hydraulic fluid. And even methylated spirits (ethanol with a squirt of toxic methanol added so you can't drink it) has a lower concentration of methanol than pure methanol, and you'd absorb less methanol. And again, my opinion is that propanol or ethanol would work better.

*Time-resolved cutaneous absorption and permeation rates of methanol in human volunteers.
Batterman-SA; Franzblau-A, Int Arch Occup Environ Health 1997 Nov; 70(5):341-351
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Old 03-07-19, 01:23 PM
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It's quite the time capsule seeing alerts for a 14 year-old thread appear in my email!
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Old 03-07-19, 01:25 PM
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If those who feel the need to write long redundant posts to dead threads will just take a little undenatured ethanol each day until riding season returns, you will feel much better and save keystrokes.
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Old 03-07-19, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
Depends on which English you speak " Denatured alcohol, also called methylated spirit (in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom)"
>>> and Ireland ...
Ethanol is the stuff folks like to drink. Methanol causes blindness and death. Both are cheap to produce. Governments like to tax ethanol for drinking. So if you make rubbing alcohol from ethanol, you have to "denature" it. That is, you have to make it toxic. You do this by adding methanol. So denatured alcohol = methylated spirit.

In the book Master and Commander, by Patrick O'Brian, a main character is Stephen Maturin, a medical doctor who is a polymath and naturalist. AT one point in the book he complains bitterly to his friend Captain Aubrey. Words to the effect "I must protest! They have drained my asp!". He had preserved an Egyptian snake in "double distilled spirit of wine" (ethanol) and the crew discovered it. A little methanol would have solved the problem.
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Old 03-07-19, 01:34 PM
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China is Pushing for a Methanol Distillery and pipeline from the Fracked gas sources to make more plastics , is the claim ..

Speeding the end of the Anthropocene era on the globe will result..
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Old 03-07-19, 02:03 PM
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I nearly flunked out of Chem 8A, so this might be a stupid question, but can't you use cheap vodka instead?
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