Is CH3OH (Methanol) an Electrolyte?

No, CH3OH (methanol) is not an electrolyte. When methanol dissolves in water, it does not dissociate into ions, and therefore, it does not conduct electricity. It remains in its molecular form as individual methanol molecules in the solution.

Well, this was just a simple answer. But there are few more things to know about this topic which will make your concept super clear.

So let’s dive right into it.

Why is CH3OH (methanol) a non-electrolyte?

CH3OH (methanol) is a non-electrolyte because it does not dissociate into ions when dissolved in water or any other solvent. Electrolytes are substances that, when dissolved in a solvent, break apart into cations (positively charged ions) and anions (negatively charged ions) that are capable of conducting an electric current. 1

The ability of a substance to conduct electricity in solution depends on its ability to dissociate into ions. 

Ionic compounds, such as salts (e.g., NaCl) or strong acids (e.g., HCl), are good examples of strong electrolytes because they dissociate almost completely into their constituent ions when dissolved in water. 2 3

On the other hand, non-electrolytes, like CH3OH, do not form ions upon dissolution.

Methanol is a covalent compound composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms held together by strong covalent bonds. 4

When methanol is dissolved in water, its molecules remain intact and do not split into charged particles. As a result, it does not conduct electricity in solution.

To summarize, CH3OH (methanol) is a non-electrolyte because it does not dissociate into ions when dissolved in water or other solvents, and as a covalent compound, it lacks the characteristic of ionic substances to carry an electric current when in solution.

Further reading

Why is HCl a Strong Electrolyte?
Why is NaOH a Strong Electrolyte?
Is NH3 (Ammonia) a Strong or Weak Electrolyte?
Is HF a Strong Electrolyte?
Is Ethanol (C2H5OH) an Electrolyte?

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  1. 8.10.9A: Electrolytes and Electrolytic Solutions. (2014, October 24). Chemistry LibreTexts.
  2. 5.3: Strong Acids and Bases. (2020, November 18). Chemistry LibreTexts.
  4. Methanol Molecule – FUSE – Department of Education & Training.

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