Propan-1-ol is a primary alcohol with the formula CH3CH2CH2OH and sometimes represented as PrOH or n-PrOH. It is a colorless liquid and an isomer of 2-propanol. It is formed naturally in small amounts during many fermentation processes and used as a solvent in the pharmaceutical industry, mainly for resins and cellulose esters, and, sometimes, as a disinfecting agent.
Propan-1-ol shows the normal reactions of a primary alcohol. Thus it can be converted to alkyl halides; for example red phosphorus and iodine produce n-propyl iodide in 80% yield, while PCl3 with catalytic ZnCl2 gives n-propyl chloride. Reaction with acetic acid in the presence of an H2SO4 catalyst under Fischer esterification conditions gives propyl acetate, while refluxing propanol overnight with formic acid alone can produce propyl formate in 65% yield. Oxidation of propan-1-ol with Na2Cr2O7 and H2SO4 gives a 36% yield of propionaldehyde, and therefore for this type of reaction higher yielding methods using PCC or the Swern oxidation are recommended. Oxidation with chromic acid yields propionic acid.
Propan-1-ol is thought to be similar to ethanol in its effects on the human body, but 2–4 times more potent. Oral LD50 in rats is 1870 mg/kg (compared to 7060 mg/kg for ethanol). It is metabolized into propionic acid. Effects include alcoholic intoxication and high anion gap metabolic acidosis. As of 2011, one case of lethal propan-1-ol poisoning was reported.
Propan-1-ol as fuel
Propan-1-ol has high octane number and is suitable for engine fuel usage. However, propanol is too expensive to use as a motor fuel. The research octane number (RON) of propanol is 118, and anti-knock index (AKI) is 108.