Oxidation Reactions of Alcohol

   Materials Required:

Ethanol, 1% solution of alkaline KMnO4 (Purple colour solution), NaHCO3(Sodium hydrogen carbonate) (white powder), freshly prepared lime water, spirit lamp, two boiling tubes (20ml), a measuring cylinder (10 mL), 2 beakers (250 mL) one containing distilled water, rubber tubing, jet, two funnels, spatula, burner, 2 tripod stand, test tube holder, lighter, clamp for holding funnel, dropper and filter paper.

   The Procedure:

Real lab procedure:

Experiment 1: Complete combustion

  • Take ethanol as fuel in a spirit lamp.
  • Burn it as usual and cover the lamp with an inverted funnel using a clamp.
  • Fix the stem of the inverted funnel with a rubber tubing attached to a jet on another end.
  • Pass the evolved vapours through freshly prepared lime water kept in a beaker.

Experiment 2: Oxidation using an oxidising agent:

  • Take 3 mL of ethanol in a boiling tube using a measuring cylinder.
  • And keep the boiling tube in a water bath
  • Place the tripod under the burner
  • Put the wire gauze over the tripod
  • Put a beaker containing water above the wire gauze.
  • Place a stand close to the tripod and clamp the test tube and insert the boiling tube into the beaker and warm the solution in test tube.
  • Unclamp the test tube from the stand and use a test tube holder to hold the test tube
  • To this, add two or three drops of 1% alkaline KMnO4 solution using a dropper
  • Place a tripod stand and then place a funnel on the tripod stand, then take the filter paper and fold the filter paper as shown in the below image and place it inside the funnel and place a test tube below the funnel to collect the filtrate.
  • Filter the content in the test tube using a filter paper
  • Then add a pinch of sodium hydrogen carbonate (NaHCO3) using a spatula into the test tube containing the test tube filtrate.

Simulation Procedure:

Experiment 1: Complete combustion

  • Drag the ethanol to the spirit lamp.
  • Drag the cotton thread to the spirit lamp.
  • Drag the lighter near the thread tip to ignite.
  • Drag the spirit lamp near the tripod stand.
  • Drag an inverted funnel to the top of the clamp.
  • Drag a tube to connect the funnel tip.
  • Drag the beaker containing freshly prepared lime water to the other end of the tube.

Experiment 2: Oxidation using an oxidising agent:

  • Drag a tripod stand over the burner.
  • Drag the wire gauze to the top of the tripod stand
  • Drag the measuring cylinder containing 3ml ethanol to the boiling tube
  • Drag the boiling tube to the testube stand to place it inside the beaker for a water bath
  • Click on the burner to turn on flame
  • Drag the boiling tube from the beaker towards the testube stand.
  • Click and drag the dropper to drop 2 or 3 drops of KMnO4 into the boiling tube

Note: Click on the ‘HELP’ button to see the instructions.

Observation Table:

  Result and Discussion:

 Infer the two oxidation reactions. Oxidation product of alcohol depends on conditions and nature of the process carried out.


  • Alcohols are extremely volatile and inflammable.
  • The alkaline potassium permanganate solution should be very dilute and added dropwise only.
  • Do not add potassium permanganate solution in the reaction excessively.