Alcohols, Phenols and Ethers

Alcohol, Phenol, and Ether – Classification, Types, Videos

Alcohol, Phenol, and Ether are classes of organic compounds. These compounds have huge applications in industries for domestic purposes. When hydroxyl (-OH) group bonds with saturated carbon atom we get Alcohol. And dehydration of alcohol forms Ether. Monohydric, Dihydric, and Trihydric are three types of alcohols, based on the hydroxyl group. In this chapter, we will talk about the types of alcohol, ether, and phenol. We will look at their classification and also cover a few examples.

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Alcohol, Phenol, and Ether

These three are classes of organic compounds having a wide usage in a broad range of industries as well as for domestic purposes. But, what are they?

  • Alcohol is the product we get when a saturated carbon atom bonds to a hydroxyl (-OH) group.
  • Phenol is what we get when the -OH group replaces the hydrogen atom in benzene.
  • Ether is the product that we get when an oxygen atom bonds to two alkyl or aryl groups.

Browse more Topics under Alcohols Phenols And Ethers

You can download Alcohols, Phenols and Ethers Cheat Sheet by clicking on the download button below




In the below section, we will discuss the various classifications of these organic compounds, alcohol, phenol, and ether.

types of alcohol

Types of Alcohol

Based on the total number of hydroxyl groups present, there are three types of alcohol. They are:

  • Monohydric alcohols: These contain one -OH group. For example, CH3CH2-OH
  • Dihydric alcohols: These contain two -OH groups. For example, 1,2-Ethandiol.
  • Trihydric alcohols: These have three -OH groups. For example 1,2,3-Propantriol.

However, this is not the only method of classification for alcohols. There is another method by which we can classify alcohols. Depending on the number of carbon atoms which are directly attached to the carbon that is bonded to the -OH group, we can classify alcohols into three types:

  • Primary alcohol: One carbon atom directly attaches to the -OH group.
  • Secondary alcohol: Two carbon atoms are directly attached to the -OH group.
  • Tertiary alcohol: Three carbon atoms are directly attached to the -OH group.

Preparation of Alcohol

  1. Hydrolysis of Alkyl Halides
  2. Oxymercuration and Demercuration of Alkanes
  3. Preparation of Alcohols from Grignard Reagent
  4. Reduction of Carbonyl Compounds
  5. Reduction of Acids to Alcohols

Learn more about methods for Preparation of Alcohol here in detail.

Classification of Phenol

Depending on the number of hydroxyl groups attached, we can classify phenols into three main types:

  • Monohydric phenols: These phenols contain one -OH group.
  • Dihydric phenols: They contain two -OH groups. They could be either ortho-, meta- or para- derivative.
  • Trihydric phenols: They contain three -OH groups.

Preparation of Phenol

  1. Haloarenes
  2. Benzene Sulphonic Acid
  3. Diazonium Salts
  4. Cumene

Learn more about methods for Preparation of Phenol in detail here.

Classification of Ether

Depending on the type of the alkyl or aryl groups attached to the oxygen atom in ether, we can classify ethers into the following two types:

  • Symmetrical ether: Also known as the simple ether, they have the same alkyl or the aryl group attached to either side of the oxygen atoms. Examples are CH3OCH3, C2H5OC2H5, etc.
  • Unsymmetrical ether: Also known as the mixed either, they have different alkyl or the aryl group attached to either side of the oxygen atoms. Examples are CH3OC2H5, C2H5OC6H5, etc.

Preparation of Ether

  1. Dehydration of Alcohols
  2. Williamson Synthesis

Learn more about methods for Preparation of Ether in detail here.

Solved Example for You

Q: Write down the physical properties of phenols.


  • Phenol is a colourless, toxic, corrosive, needle-shaped solid. It liquifies due to high hygroscopic nature.
  • Phenol is less soluble in water, but it dissolves properly in organic solvents.
  • Simplest phenols, because of hydrogen bonding have quite high boiling points.
  • o-nitrophenol is volatile and also less soluble in water because of intramolecular hydrogen bonding
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One response to “Physical Properties of Alcohols, Phenols and Ethers”

  1. Carla says:

    Who wrote this? Year please

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