Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)



First Advisor

Emerson G. Cobb

First Committee Member

Herschel Frye


The present chemical and physical methods for the determination of ethyl alcohol are all subject to systematic errors derived from any of a number of interfacing substances usually present in solution with the ethanol. Some of the most popular methods are slow and tedious and require a good deal of skill and technique to perform. The dichromate (2), pycnometer and refractometer methods are three such methods. The interfering substances most often present in industrial and food products are fusel oils and acetaldehyde. These substances interfere in the three methods just mentioned. It is of course possible to analyze for these substances separately and then make appropriate corrections, or to remove them before the determination is performed; but by either method the total analysis time is quite lengthy and tedious. In many cases throughout industry the determination of ethyl alcohol is a routine analysis which is usually performed by lab technicians with limited chemical background and thus lengthy and difficult methods of analysis should be minimized. The ideal method would be one which is rapid, accurate, specific and one which can be performed easily by a skilled technician.

Gas chromatography is an analytiucal tool which has not yet been thoroughly investigated as a means of determining ethanol in aqueous solutions and is one which can virtually eliminate many of the undesirable features of the present chemical and physical methods. It is the purpose of this thesis to add to this investigation by presenting a moderately rapid gas chromatographic method and a high speed gas chromatographic method for this analysis and to compare these to the pycnometer and micro-dichromate methods presently used. The purpose of presenting two methods is to provide the user some choice depending on his needs and facilities.



Included in

Chemistry Commons



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