What Is the Structure of Tert-Butyl Alcohol?

The UCLA Illustrated Glossary of Organic Chemistry explains the structure of tert-butyl alcohol, which is also known as tert butanol: It consists of a central carbon atom surrounded by three molecules made of one carbon and three hydrogen atoms, along with one atom of oxygen bonded to a hydrogen atom. One molecule of tert-butyl alcohol features: four carbon atoms, 10 atoms of hydrogen and a single atom of oxygen.

The UCLA Illustrated Glossary of Organic Chemistry reveals tert butanol is the simplest tertiary alcohol commonly used as a nonpolar protic solvent. The solvent has a camphor-like odor and is a colorless liquid or solid at room temperature, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Tert-butyl alcohol reaches the point of immediately dangerous to life and health, or IDLH, at 1,600 parts per million in the air.

Tert-butyl alcohol has other standard physical properties. According to Good Guide, the substance is highly flammable at room temperature. Good Guide lists the molecular weight of tert butanol as 74.12, with a boiling point of 82 degrees Celsius and a melting point of 25.7 degrees Celsius. Tert-butyl alcohol is used in the manufacture of flotation agents, paint removers, perfumes and food flavorings. This organic chemical serves as an octane booster for unleaded gasoline, a cleaning agent for pharmaceuticals and a denaturant for ethanol.

Other names for this substance include 2-methyl-2-propanol and tertiary butanol.