What is Methanol?

Methanol, known as methyl alcohol, is a transparent liquid with chemical formula CH3OH. It is volatile, flammable, and toxic for human consumption.

Methanol is a polar substance, soluble in water. The -OH group is responsible for its polarity. The electronegativity difference between atoms in the -OH group generates a negative region. This region influences the carbon and hydrogens region making it positive.

Sigma Aldrich Methanol Lewis Structure

Methanol can be produced from:

  • plants, 
  • fossil fuels (natural gas & coal), 
  • biomass, 
  • solid waste, 
  • biogas, 
  • wasted CO2 (from the atmosphere), 
  • and also renewable electricity. 

At industrial scales, Methanol is produced using natural gas as the principal feedstock.

The uses of Methanol are as an antifreeze, solvent, and fuel.

Methanol environmental and economic advantages are making it an attractive alternative fuel. It can power vehicles and ships, cooking food, and heating homes.

We offer a wide range of research-grade methanols for multiple applications. Whether you need HPLC methanol, ACS methanol, anhydrous methanol or one of the other grades available, we offer the right product for your application. As a leading supplier of high-purity solvents, we have the right methanol to meet your needs.

Methanol Formulas and Structures

Methanol is constituents for four (H) atoms, one (O) atom, and one (C) atom. It is the simplest member of a group of organic compounds called alcohol. 


Type Formula or Structure
Methanol Moleculal Formulas CH4O or CH3OH 
Methanol Ball and Sticks Structural Model Sigma Aldrich Methanol Ball-Stick Structure
Methanol Sticks Structural Model Sigma Aldrich Methanol Stick Structure
Methanol Wire-Frame Structural Model Sigma Aldrich Methanol Wire-Frame Structure
Methanol Space-Filling Structural Model Sigma Aldrich Methanol Space-Filling Structure

Methanol Industrial Identification

Chart listing the various names, identifiers and synonyms of methanol.

ID Type Identification
Synonyms Methyl alcohol, wood alcohol, carbinol, wood spirit, 67-56-1, Methylol, Methyl hydroxide, MeOH, Methyl hydrate
Molecular Formula CH3OH
Beilstein Registry 1098229
EG/EC Number 2006596
MDL Number MFCD00004595
CAS Number 67-56-1
RIDADR / UN Number UN 1230 3/PG 2
NSC Number 85232
ICSC Number 0057
RTECS Number 85232


Methanol Physical and Chemical Properties

Chart including the physical and chemical properties of methanol.

Property Value
Molecular Weight 32.04
Molar Mass 32.042 g/mol
Density 0.791 g/mL at 25 ºC
Boiling Point 64.7 ºC
Melting Point -98ºC
Flash Point 11.1ºC
Viscosity (cP)  0.544 at 25ºC
Dielectric Constant 33.00 at 20ºC
Dipole Moment 1.7
UV cutoff 210 nm
Refractive Index 1.329 at 20ºC
Vapor Density 1.11 (vs. air)
Exact Mass 32.026215 g/mol
Monoisotopic Mass 32.026215 g/mol

Methanol Miscibility & Immiscibility

Property Chemical
Methanol is Miscible with Acetic Acid, Acetone, Acetonitrile, Benzene, Butanol, Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), Butyl Acetate (n-), Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), Carbon Tetrachloride, Chloroform, Dichloroethane (1,2-), Dichloromethane, Diethyl ether, Diisopropyl ether, Dimethylformamide, Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO), Dioxane, Ethanol, Ethyl Acetate, Methanol, 1-Propanol, Isopropanol, Tetrahydrofuran (THF), Toluene, Trichloroethylene, Water, Xylene 
Methanol is Immiscible with Cyclohexane, Heptane, Hexane, Pentane, Isooctane
View the Solvent Miscibility Table


Miscibility Table for Methanol

The following table shows which substances methanol is miscible and immiscible with. Red indicates immiscibility and white indicates miscibility.

Miscibility & Immiscibility of Methanol
methanol miscibility and immiscibility chart & table
Click to download table.

Methanol Hazard Statements

Hazard Statements H225-H301-H311-H331-H370
Signal Word Danger
Precautionary Statements P210-P260-P280-P301 + P310-P311

GHS Information

GHS Pictogram Statement
Flammable gases, category 1
Flammable aerosols, categories 1,2
Flammable liquids, categories 1,2,3
Flammable solids, categories 1,2
Self-reactive substances and mixtures, Types B,C,D,E,F
Pyrophoric liquids, category 1
Pyrophoric solids, category 1
Self-heating substances and mixtures, categories 1,2
Substances and mixtures, which in contact with water,
emit flammable gases, categories 1,2,3
Organic peroxides, Types B,C,D,E,F

Respiratory sensitization, category 1
Germ cell mutagenicity, categories 1A,1B,2
Carcinogenicity, categories 1A,1B,2
Reproductive toxicity, categories 1A,1B,2
Specific Target Organ Toxicity – Single exposure, categories 1,2
Specific Target Organ Toxicity – Repeated exposure, categories 1,2
Aspiration Hazard, category 1

Acute toxicity (oral, dermal, inhalation), categories 1,2,3

Methanol SDS Information

An SDS (Safety Data Sheet) is available for each methanol product. Start your search for a methanol SDS.

Methanol Uses

Methanol is a highly versatile used for industrial purposes. It is a critical component of hundreds of chemicals like olefins and formaldehyde. About 40% of the worldwide production of Methanol for the production of formaldehyde. And from formaldehyde, there is a big production of

  • plastics, 
  • plywood, 
  • paints, 
  • explosives, 
  • permanent press textiles, 
  • and other varieties of products.

Methanol is a traditional denaturant for ethanol. And, it is also used as a solvent, and as an antifreeze in pipelines and windshield washer fluid.

Some wastewater treatment plants use Methanol. A small amount of Methanol is added to wastewater to provide a food source of carbon for the denitrifying bacteria, which convert nitrates to nitrogen.

Methanol As a Clean Energy Option

Increasingly, Methanol is using in innovative energy applications as

  • Automotive fuel
  • Marine fuel
  • DME and bioDME
  • BioDiesel
  • Fuel Cells
  • Electricity
  • Boiler/Cokstoves