Isopropyl alcohol, also called 2-propanol, one of the most common members of the alcohol family of organic compounds. Isopropyl alcohol was the first commercial synthetic alcohol; chemists at the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey (later Exxon Mobil) first produced it in 1920 while studying petroleum by-products. It is easily synthesized from the reaction of propylene with sulfuric acid, followed by hydrolysis
In 1994, 1.5 million tonnes of isopropyl alcohol were produced in the United States, Europe, and Japan. It is primarily produced by combining water and propene in a hydration reaction or by hydrogenating acetone There are two routes for the hydration process and both processes require that the isopropyl alcohol be separated from water and other by-products by distillation. Isopropyl alcohol and water form an azeotrope, and simple distillation gives a material that is 87.9% by mass isopropyl alcohol and 12.1% by mass water.Pure (anhydrous) isopropyl alcohol is made by azeotropic distillation of the wet isopropyl alcohol using either diisopropyl ether or cyclohexane as azeotroping agents.