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Advanced Organic Chemistry: Infrared spectrum of methanol

Interpreting the infrared spectrum of methanol

Doc Brown's Chemistry Advanced Level Pre-University Chemistry Revision Study Notes for UK IB KS5 A/AS GCE advanced A level organic chemistry students US K12 grade 11 grade 12 organic chemistry courses involving molecular spectroscopy analysing infrared spectra of methanol

CH3OH infrared spectrum of methanol wavenumbers cm-1 functional group detection fingerprint pattern identification of methanol methyl alcohol doc brown's advanced organic chemistry revision notes 

Spectra obtained from a liquid film of methanol. The right-hand part of the of the infrared spectrum of methanol, wavenumbers ~1500 to 400 cm-1 is considered the fingerprint region for the identification of methanol and most organic compounds. It is due to a unique set of complex overlapping vibrations of the atoms of the molecule of methanol.

Methanol  CH4O alcohols and ether structure and naming (c) doc b alcohols and ether structure and naming (c) doc b alcohols and ether structure and naming (c) doc b alcohols and ether structure and naming (c) doc b

Interpretation of the infrared spectrum of methanol

The most prominent infrared absorption lines of methanol

The very characteristic strong absorption band for the O-H stretching vibrations at wavenumbers 3400 to 3200 cm-1.

This absorption band is broadened by the intermolecular hydrogen bonding interactions between the hydroxyl groups of adjacent methanol molecules.

Hydrogen bonding (llll) between methanol molecules  CH3-OHδ+llllδ:O-CH3

The absorption bands ~2900 cm-1 arise from C-H bond stretching vibrations - common to most organic molecules.

There are several strong absorptions bands at wavenumbers 1075 to 1000 cm-1 and 1350 to 1260 cm-1 from the stretching vibrations of the C-O bond.

The absence of other specific functional group bands will show that a particular functional group is absent from the methanol molecular structure.

In this case there is a strong broad characteristic absorption of a molecule with a hydroxyl group exhibiting intermolecular hydrogen bonding e.g. aliphatic alcohols.


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