Experiment 26: Oxidation of alcohols


  • To study oxidation of alcohols using oxidizing agent

Materials required:

  • Ethanol
  • KMnO4
  • NaHCO3
  • dil. H2SO4
  • spirit lamp
  • test tubes
  • delivery tube


  • Add 0.5g of KMnO4 in a test tube and add 10mL water. Add 2-3 drops of dil H2SO4 to it
  • Take 3 mL of ethanol in a test tube and add two or three drops of KMnO4 solution and stir till it decoloizes. Keep on adding KMnO4 solution drop-wise & stirring till it decolorizes
  • Warm the mixture gently over spirit lamp and shake the reaction mixture occasionally.
  • Warm the solution slowly over spirit lamp till the reaction mixture decolourises (DO NOT BOIL – ethanol vapors are highly flammable )
  • Add a pinch of sodium hydrogen-carbonate (NaHCO3) to the solution. Check for effervescence

Observations and Findings:

  • Effervescence on addition of NaHCO3


  • Effervescence on addition of NaHCO3 confirms the presence of ethanoic acid


  • An oxidation process involves gain of oxygen by the elements or compounds. Alcohol on oxidation with an oxidising agent (such as alkaline potassium permanganate solution) get oxidised to a carboxylic acid. The completion of reaction is characterized by the decolourisation of potassium permanganate solution