I am trying to find out about methylated spirts/denatured alcohol. As far as I can fine, methylated spirits is roughly 95% ethanol. Will it conduct electricity?

I have done some research, but I have not found much of anything. This reference discusses ethanol's pKa value (15.9, no source for value). I am aware that the reason why pure water conducts is because it dissociates into ions. Additionally, acid dissociation is written about on Wikipedia, but it always involves two reagents (something and water) - except for water self-ionization.

Water self-ionization is caused because of autoprotolysis. This led me to research autoprotolysis constants. Some specific research was conducted in this area by Faraji, Farajtabar and Gharib (Determination of Water-Ethanol Mixtures Autoprotolysis Constants and Solvent Effect). This roughly concurs with the pKa of 15.9 (Faraji et al. found a pKa of 16.62 with 90% ethanol and 10% water).

According to Wikipedia, the higher the acid dissociation constant the lower the chance that it will dissociate at any given pH. Since the pKa of pure ethanol would be higher, would it dissociate (I am unaware of what threshold is required). Even though I read the article, I was unsure about the autoprotolysis constant that it claimed to be investigating. It seems to me that the constant is just a pKa value, not anything more.

So, is it possible to determine whether high concentrations of ethanol conducts electricity or not? Will methylated spirits conduct electricity? In my research, I was not able to find anything like a conductivity or resistivity constant. Are these available for ethanol? What are they?

  • $\begingroup$ Homework questions must demonstrate some effort to understand the underlying concepts. For help asking a good homework question, see: How do I ask homework questions on Chemistry Stack Exchange? $\endgroup$ Feb 17, 2018 at 6:13
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    $\begingroup$ I hope that fulfils the requirements. If not, I suppose I could include more of the research. $\endgroup$ Feb 17, 2018 at 11:04
  • $\begingroup$ chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/31507/… $\endgroup$
    – Alchimista
    Feb 17, 2018 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ These individuals seem to say that ethanol does not dissociate, while Eric Griffin says that ethanol is an electrolyte. Curt F thinks that it will dissociate to a lesser extent than water, but it still may conduct a little. Basically, I have conflicting answers that aren't very clear. Can someone elucidate? $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2018 at 6:26
  • $\begingroup$ Avs Sharma seems to be saying that while ethanol may dissociate, it does not because it is highly unstable due to absence of resonance. $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2018 at 6:43


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