Denatured alcohol or methylated spirits is ethanol that has additives to make it undrinkable (poisonous), to discourage recreational consumption. In some cases it is also dyed.
Denatured alcohol is used as a solvent and as fuel for spirit burners and camping stoves. Because of the diversity of industrial uses for denatured alcohol, hundreds of additives and denaturing methods have been used. The main additive has traditionally been 10% methanol, giving rise to the term "methylated spirit." Other typical additives include isopropyl alcohol, acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, methyl isobutyl ketone, and denatonium.
Denaturing alcohol does not chemically alter the ethanol molecule. Rather, the ethanol is mixed with other chemicals to form an undrinkable solution.
Different additives are used to make it difficult to use distillation or other simple processes to reverse the denaturation. Methanol is commonly used both because its boiling point is close to that of ethanol and because it is toxic. In many countries, it is also required that denatured alcohol be dyed blue or purple with an aniline dye.
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