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Simplest of the alcohols, chemical formula CHOH. Once produced by destructive distillation of wood, it is now usually made from the methane in natural gas. Methanol is an important industrial material; its derivatives are used in great quantities for making a vast number of compounds, among them many important synthetic dyes, resins, drugs, and perfumes. It is also used in automotive antifreezes, in rocket fuels, and as a solvent. It is flammable and explosive. A clean-burning fuel, it may substitute (at least in part) for gasoline. It is also used for denaturation of ethanol. A violent poison, it causes blindness and eventually death when drunk.
Variants of METHANOL
methanol or methyl alcohol or wood alcohol
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on methanol, visit Britannica.com.