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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/259

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255
DENATURED ALCOHOL

the detestable odor, and recently has permitted a reduction in the required amount of pyridine bases, substituting for it some benzine.[1] The experience of Germany indicates that pyridine, in spite of its disadvantages, is, on the whole, the best general denaturant known.

In Austria-Hungary the standard denaturant is practically the same as in Germany. In France it is much the same as in England—to 100 liters of alcohol are added 10 liters of wood spirit which must contain 25 per cent, of acetone and certain other impurities. Besides this, other substances must be added, the nature of the second substance varying according to the destination of the product. For instance, if the alcohol is to be used for heating, the addition must be half a liter of 'benzine'; if it is to be used for lighting, four per cent, of resin must be added.

We are to have our choice between the methods of France and of Germany. According to Regulations No. 30 of the United States Internal Revenue and to circulars Nos. 680 and 686 issued by the Treasury Department, alcohol may be denatured by adding to each hundred liters of alcohol of not less than 180° proof, ten liters of wood spirits and half a liter of benzine, or by adding to that quantity of the alcohol two liters of wood spirit and half a liter of pyridine bases. The wood spirit, benzine and pyridine bases, with which the denaturing is to be done, must be 'approved.' "The methyl alcohol submitted must be partially purified wood alcohol obtained by the destructive distillation of wood." "It must contain not more than 25 or less than 15 grams per 100 c.c. of acetone and other substances estimated as acetone.". . ." The benzine submitted for approval must be a hydrocarbon product derived either from petroleum or coal tar." "It must be of such character as to impart a decided odor to ethyl alcohol when mixt [sic] with it in the proportion of one half

  1. This word benzine is sadly overworked. Spelled with an e, benzene, it is the correct scientific name for a definite chemical compound of the composition represented by the formula . Spelled with an i, benzine or benzin, it is often used to mean benzene, toluene, xylene, mesitylene, or several other things obtained from the distillation of coal, or a mixture of any two or more of these things. More frequently it means any one of the score of substances obtained in the distillation of crude American petroleum before the temperature is high enough to drive off what we call kerosene. That is to say, it may mean rhigolene, cymogene, gasolene, or naphtha, petroleum-ether or ligroin, or a mixture of these. As these are themselves mixtures, the confusion is worse confounded. Many, if not most chemists, in an effort to avoid misunderstandings, adopted the German word benzol to indicate that definite and important compound , but the relief was for but a little while. Now benzol, too, has begun to be used in certain industries, as if it were synonymous with benzine or benzene. When one of these three words is used it is impossible to tell immediately what is meant; the meaning may be deducible later from the context, frequently it is not, as the chances are almost even that the speaker himself does not know. It covers a multitude of inaccuracies; perhaps that is why the word is so popular.