Butanol (C4H10O)

25th October 2018



An image showing Butanol (C4H10O) in a 2.5litre container

Why Buy Butanol from ReAgent UK?

With over 40 years of industry experience, ReAgent is a leading UK chemical manufacturer with a catalogue of accreditations. We are internationally recognised for our unrivalled quality and commitment to the environment, and all of our products are backed by a 100% quality guarantee.

We supply butanol in 2.5L and 25L containers. When you choose ReAgent, you’re choosing discounts on bulk orders and nationwide next-day delivery. Our butanol products have a purity level of above 99.8% as well as less than 0.05% water and o.oo5% acidity, so you can buy with confidence.

Chemical Properties

Also known as butyl alcohol, butanol is a colourless liquid with a characteristic banana-like smell. It is a four-carbon alcohol that can be expressed as C4H9OH. Most commonly used as a solvent, this alcohol is highly miscible in a range of organic solvents, including:

  • Acetone
  • Ethanol
  • Ethyl Ether
  • Water

Its miscibility makes butanol well-suited to a variety of chemical and textile processes, as well as organic synthesis and as a chemical intermediate.

Butyl alcohol comes in four different isomeric versions, including:

  • A simple straight chain where the hydroxyl functional, or alcohol group (-OH) is attached at the end. This is called n-butanol a.k.a. butan-1-ol, which is a primary alcohol.
  • A straight chain where the alcohol group is connected to an internal carbon. This is called butan-2-ol, which is a secondary alcohol.
  • A branched isomer with the hydroxyl group positioned at the end. This is commonly referred to as isobutanol or 2-methyl-1-propanol.
  • A branched chain where the alcohol group is linked to one of the internal carbons. This is called tert-butanol or 2-methyl-2-propanol.

While all of these versions technically have the same chemical formula, different isomers do have slightly different chemical properties.

Methods of Synthesis

The most common process starts with propylene which is converted to butyraldehyde and subsequently reduced to butan-1-ol and butan-2-ol. The tertiary versions of butanol can be derived as a co-product in the synthesis of propylene oxide.

An alternative method involves bacterial fermentation, which was commonly used before synthetic methods were developed in the 1950s. Clostridium acetobutylicum was the bacteria used industrially to produce butanol, although other bacteria can also perform these reactions.

Friendly service and bespoke products

At ReAgent, we have a long list of chemicals available, as well as bespoke products to suit your needs. We’re very proud of our friendly customer service who are always willing to help before, during and even after your purchase. If you need any further information, simply contact us for a quote or technical question.


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