Rubbing alcohol

From Academic Kids

Rubbing alcohol is a liquid prepared for topical application to skin usually consisting of isopropyl alcohol with a small admixture of methyl alcohol. Some mixtures use ethyl alcohol in part or whole substitution for iso-propanol.

Rubbing alcohol is poisonous and can cause permanent disabling illness or death if drunk. Rubbing alcohol evapoprates quickly and is used to cool and sooth skin. It is also used to sterilize surfaces but should be used with great caution near cuts and abrasions. It is occasionally used to harden skin such as in the case of the feet of novice hikers.

It is unsuited as a fuel in alcohol stoves because of the relatively low vapor pressure of propanol.

In the UK the equivalent material is Surgical spirit which is always based on ethyl alcohol and which often has the addition of small quantities of iodoform as a topical bacteriocide.

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