Difference Between 1 Butanol and 2 Butanol

Main Difference – 1 Butanol vs 2 Butanol

Butanol is an alcohol. It is an organic compound having the functional group –OH attached to a carbon atom. Butanol has four carbon atoms. The general formula of butanol is C4H9OH. This formula has five isomeric structures. Isomers are molecules with the same molecular formula but different chemical structures. 1 Butanol and 2 butanol are two of these isomers. The main difference between 1 Butanol and 2 Butanol is that 1 butanol has the –OH group attached to the terminal carbon of the molecule whereas 2 butanol has the –OH group attached to the second carbon atom.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is 1 Butanol
     – Definition, Chemical Properties, Chemical Structure
2. What is 2 Butanol
     – Definition, Chemical Properties, Chemical Structure
3. What is the Difference Between 1 Butanol and 2 Butanol
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Alcohol, Butanol, Chiral Center, Chirality, Isomers, Racemic Mixture, Stereoisomers

Difference Between 1 Butanol and 2 Butanol - Comparison Summary

What is 1 Butanol

1 Butanol is an alcohol having the chemical formula C4H9OH. The molar mass is 74.12 g/mol. The IUPAC name of this compound is butan-1-ol. At room temperature and pressure, 1 butanol is a colorless liquid. The boiling point of 1 butanol is 117.7 °C and the melting point -89.8 °C.

Main Difference - 1 Butanol vs 2 Butanol

Figure 1: Chemical Structure of 1 Butanol

When considering the chemical structure of 1 butanol, it has four carbon atoms bonded to each other via single covalent bonds forming a carbon chain. One carbon atom at the terminal of this carbon chain is attached to a –OH group. The rest of the vacant points of the carbon chain are occupied with hydrogen atoms. 1 butanol has a linear structure. It is a primary alcohol since the carbon atom to which –OH group is attached is a primary carbon atom (a carbon atom attached to only one other carbon atom).

What is 2 Butanol

2 Butanol is an alcohol having the chemical formula C4H9OH. The molar mass is 74.12 g/mol. The IUPAC name of this compound is butan-2-ol. It is a colorless, flammable liquid at room temperature and pressure. The boiling point of 2 butanol is 99.5 °C, and the melting point is -114.7 °C.

Difference Between 1 Butanol and 2 Butanol

Figure 2: Chemical Structure of 2 Butanol

2 butanol is a secondary alcohol since it is a compound whose hydroxyl group, ‒OH, is attached to a saturated carbon atom which has two other carbon atoms attached to it. 2 butanol is a chiral compound. The carbon atom attached with –OH group is a chiral center. Therefore, this molecule has stereoisomers. 2 Butanol is often found as a racemic mixture of stereoisomers. The stereoisomers of 2 butanol are (R)-2-butanol and (S)-2-butanol.

Difference Between 1 Butanol and 2 Butanol

Definition

1 Butanol: 1 Butanol is an alcohol having the chemical formula C4H9OH.

2 Butanol: 2 Butanol is an alcohol having the chemical formula C4H9OH.

Category

1 Butanol: 1 Butanol is a primary alcohol.

2 Butanol: 2 Butanol is a secondary alcohol.

Boiling Point

1 Butanol: The boiling point of 1 butanol is 117.7 °C.

2 Butanol: The boiling point of 2 butanol is 99.5 °C.

Melting Point

1 Butanol: The melting point of 1 butanol is -89.8 °C.

2 Butanol: The melting point of 2 butanol is -114.7 °C.

Chirality

1 Butanol: 1 Butanol has no chiral centers.

2 Butanol: 2 Butanol has a chiral center.

Stereoisomers

1 Butanol: 1 Butanol has no stereoisomers.

2 Butanol: 2 butanol has stereoisomers.

IUPAC Name

1 Butanol: The IUPAC name of 1 butanol is butal-1-ol.

2 Butanol: The IUPAC name of 2 butanol is butan-2-ol.

Conclusion

Butanol is a colorless liquid at room temperature and pressure. It is a hydrocarbon compound. It has five major isomeric structures. 1 butanol and 2 butanol are two of them. The main difference between these two molecules is that 1 butanol has the –OH group attached to the terminal carbon of the molecule whereas 2 butanol has the –OH group attached to the second carbon atom.

Reference: 

1. “1-Butanol.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database, U.S. National Library of Medicine, .
2. “2-Butanol.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Dec. 2017, .
3. “2-Butanol.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database, U.S. National Library of Medicine, .

Image Courtesy:

1. “Butanol flat structure” By Cacycle – Own work (Public Domain) via
2. “Représentations du butan-2-ol” By Rhadamante assumed -Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., ( via

About the Author: Madhusha

Madhusha is a BSc (Hons) graduate in the field of Biological Sciences and is currently pursuing for her Masters in Industrial and Environmental Chemistry. Her interest areas for writing and research include Biochemistry and Environmental Chemistry.

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