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Chemical name 2-Methyl-2-propanol
Other names t-Butanol
t-Butyl alcohol
tert-Butyl alcohol
tertiary-Butyl alcohol
Chemical formula C4H10O
Molecular mass 74.1216(42) g/mol
CAS number [75-65-0]
Density 0.78086 g/cm³
Melting point 25.69 °C - 298.84 K
Boiling point 82.4 °C - 355.55 K
NFPA 704
Disclaimer and references

tert-Butanol, or 2-methyl-2-propanol, is the simplest tertiary alcohol. It is one of the four isomers of butanol. tert-Butanol is a clear liquid with a camphor-like odor. It is well soluble in water and miscible with ethanol and diethyl ether. It is unique among the isomers of butanol because it tends to be a solid at room temperature, with a melting point slightly above 25 degrees Celsius.



tert-Butyl alcohol is used as a solvent, as a denaturant for ethanol, as an ingredient in paint removers, as an octane booster for gasoline, as an oxygenate gasoline additive, and as an intermediate in the synthesis of other chemical commodities such as flavors and perfumes.


tert-Butyl alcohol can be manufactured industrially by the catalytic hydration of isobutylene.


As a tertiary alcohol, tert-butanol is more stable to oxidation and less reactive than the other isomers of butanol.

When tert-butanol is deprotonated with a strong base, the product is an alkoxide anion. In this case, it is tert-butoxide. For example, when tert-butanol is deprotonated with sodium hydride, the resultant is sodium tert-butoxide.

NaH + tBuOH → tBuONa+ + H2

The tert-butoxide species is itself useful as a strong, non-nucleophilic base in organic chemistry. It is able to abstract acidic protons from the substrate molecule readily, but its steric bulk inhibits the group from participating in nucleophilic addition, such as in a Williamson ether synthesis or an SN2 reaction.

Conversion to alkyl halide

tert-Butanol (also tert-butyl alcohol) reacts with hydrogen chloride to form tert-butyl chloride and water via an SN1 mechanism.

Step 1
Step 2
Step 3

The overall reaction, therefore, is:

Because tert-butanol is a tertiary alcohol, the relative stability of the tert-butyl carbocation in the Step 2 allows the SN1 mechanism to be followed. Primary alcohols generally require an SN2 mechanism because the energy barrier to produce a primary carbocation is so high that it will not reasonably happen. The SN2 mechanism allows the carbocation intermediate to be avoided.


  1. ^ Merck Index, 11th Edition, 1542
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Tert-Butanol". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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