Which Burns Hotter: Ethanol or Methanol?

Pure ethanol, less toxic than gasoline and methanol, contains no carcinogenic compounds.
••• Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, and methanol, or methyl alcohol, are renewable fuel sources, made from plant-based materials ranging from corn and sugar cane to agricultural and timber waste. Outside of carefully controlled environments, such as laboratories, the burning temperature and other characteristics of these materials varies slightly depending on impurities and other factors, and when compared to other fuels, they have relatively similar peak flame and flash point temperatures.

Too Hot to Handle

The peak flame temperature of ethanol is 1,920 degrees Celsius (3,488 degrees Fahrenheit), while the peak flame temperature of methanol is 1,870 degrees Celsius (3,398 degrees Fahrenheit). Ethanol also has a higher flash point than methanol: about at 14 degrees Celsius (57.2 degrees Fahrenheit) to methanol's 11-degree Celsius (51.8 degrees Fahrenheit) flash point. A volatile liquid's flash point is the lowest temperature at which it can vaporize to form an ignitable mixture in the area. The autoignition temperature, the minimum temperature at which the material ignites without a flame or spark present, however, is higher for methanol than ethanol.

Related Articles

Properties of Fossil Fuels
What Is Propylene Glycol
What is Ethanolic Potassium Hydroxide?
Uses of PVC Plastic
Urethane vs. Polyurethane
How Do Factories Cause Air Pollution?
What Is Inconel?
How to Find the Mole Fraction
What Is Anhydrous Methanol?
Naphtha Uses
How Is Isopropyl Alcohol Made?
What Refrigerants Are Flammable?
Does Oil Dissolve Rubber Gloves?
What Causes Atmospheric Heating?
How to Make Bromine Water in the Chemistry Lab
Uses for Petroleum Coke
Properties of Fossil Fuels
Four Ways to Speed Up a Chemical Reaction
Example of a Chemical Compound Used to Make Plastic
Properties of Thermal Insulators