Science, Tech, Math › Science What Is the Chemical Formula of Ethanol? Ethanol or Grain Alcohol Chemical Structure Share Flipboard Email Print This is the chemical formula of ethanol or ethyl alcohol. benjaminec / Getty Images Science Chemistry Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated May 10, 2019 Question: What Is the Chemical Formula of Ethanol? Ethanol is ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol. It is the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages. Here's a look at its chemical formula. Answer: There is more than one way to represent the chemical formula of ethanol. The molecular formula is CH3CH2OH. The empirical formula of ethanol is C2H6O. The chemical formula also may be written as CH3–CH2–OH. You may see ethanol written as EtOH, where the Et represents the ethyl group (C2H5). Learn how to distill ethanol. Ethanol Properties Ethanol, like other alcohols, is flammable, volatile, and colorless. It has a characteristic odor. Ethanol has psychoactive properties. Other forms of alcohol also have such properties, but ethyl alcohol is considerably less toxic to humans than methanol or isopropanol. Ethanol Uses In addition to its recreational use, ethanol has many other applications. It is an important disinfectant and antiseptic. It is a common solvent, of particular use because it is miscible in both water and organic solvents. Ethanol is used for the synthesis of other organic compounds. Ethanol is a clean-burning fuel.