I want single compound/reagent/chemical/paper/dye which gives colored reaction with pure ethanol and it should be non toxic as well. By simply adding/diping it to pure ethanol it should give color change at room temperature.

  • $\begingroup$ Addition of Pottasium dichromate would do the trick.. Basically anything that reacts with the compouund that results in a change $\endgroup$ – Safdar Faisal Jul 15 '20 at 16:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Safdar But the non-toxic thing is a problem! ;) $\endgroup$ – Ed V Jul 15 '20 at 16:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Safdar Not sure what you mean. In any event, potassium dichromate and potassium permanganate are toxic. What the OP seems to want is essentially a test strip for ethanol. Or compound, etc. And it apparently needs to be specific, i.e., does not give false positives for methanol, etc. $\endgroup$ – Ed V Jul 15 '20 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ @EdV well that scares me. We actually had to tests with Potassium permanganate to check whether a certain compound was an alkene or not. thanks for the clarification. $\endgroup$ – Safdar Faisal Jul 15 '20 at 16:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Safdar No need to be scared of potassium permanganate: it has many uses, as discussed in the wikipedia article and elsewhere. But it does need to be respected as a strong oxidizer. $\endgroup$ – Ed V Jul 15 '20 at 16:33

If you are looking for an edible reagent, I can offer egg whites (albumin) for some consumptions. The egg protein is denatured in the presence of ethanol, and a white precipitate is formed. This method is known as cooking egg without heat but scientifically used for purification of lysozyme and ovalbumin. I think this is the best easy-access and non-toxic reagent for detecting ethanol.

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  • $\begingroup$ What would happen with pure methanol or pure isopropanol or with vodka (any proof)? $\endgroup$ – Ed V Jul 15 '20 at 18:02
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    $\begingroup$ It seems all water-soluble alcohols denature albumin (doi.org/10.1002/bip.1978.360170907). It's better to know egg white is a non-toxic alternative, not a reagent mainly. $\endgroup$ – Reihani Jul 15 '20 at 18:12
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    $\begingroup$ So then there is nothing special about ethanol. I think the OP’s question is in need of elaboration: what specificity or selectivity for ethanol do they require? $\endgroup$ – Ed V Jul 15 '20 at 18:16
  • $\begingroup$ No, this is not a specific reagent to ethanol. Also, I'm not sure there is a quite non-toxic compound to detect ethanol. $\endgroup$ – Reihani Jul 15 '20 at 18:35
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    $\begingroup$ That is the problem: the OP does not tell us enough about what they really want. For example, maybe the “test strip” would change color if and only if it was wetted with pure ethanol. Nothing else would cause a color change. Then it would be very useful in detecting adulterated potable alcohol. But it is hard to achieve total specificity/selectivity and also have adequate sensitivity. So I did not downvote, but I have a guess why others did so: what the OP wants probably does not exist. Of course, maybe they will edit their question to clarify exactly what they seek. $\endgroup$ – Ed V Jul 15 '20 at 18:41

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