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Ethanol has a higher boiling point because of chemical bonding. Ethanol is an alcohol. Specifically hydrogen bonding. Ethanol is an alcohol, Butane does not have anything except Carbon and Hydrogen. I found this on Google:

Hydrogen bonding in alcohols An alcohol is an organic molecule containing an -O-H group. Any molecule which has a hydrogen atom attached directly to an oxygen or a nitrogen is capable of hydrogen bonding. Such molecules will always have higher boiling points than similarly sized molecules which don't have an -O-H or an -N-H group. The hydrogen bonding makes the molecules "stickier", and more heat is necessary to separate them. Ethanol, CH3CH2-O-H, and methoxymethane, CH3-O-CH3, both have the same molecular formula, C2H6O.

---- Note: If you haven't done any organic chemistry yet, don't worry about the names.


They have the same number of electrons, and a similar length to the molecule. The van der Waals attractions (both dispersion forces and dipole-dipole attractions) in each will be much the same. However, ethanol has a hydrogen atom attached directly to an oxygen - and that oxygen still has exactly the same two lone pairs as in a water molecule. Hydrogen bonding can occur between ethanol molecules, although not as effectively as in water. The hydrogen bonding is limited by the fact that there is only one hydrogen in each ethanol molecule with sufficient + charge. In methoxymethane, the lone pairs on the oxygen are still there, but the hydrogens aren't sufficiently + for hydrogen bonds to form. Except in some rather unusual cases, the hydrogen atom has to be attached directly to the very electronegative element for hydrogen bonding to occur. The boiling points of ethanol and methoxymethane show the dramatic effect that the hydrogen bonding has on the stickiness of the ethanol molecules: ethanol (with hydrogen bonding) 78.5°C methoxymethane (without hydrogen bonding) -24.8°C The hydrogen bonding in the ethanol has lifted its boiling point about 100°C.

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โˆ™ 2008-09-02 14:47:26
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Q: Why does ethanol have higher boiling point than butane although the latter has higher relative molecular mass?
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