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Structure of Alkanols

The general formula of alkanols is R-OH, where R is some alkyl or substituted alkyl group. Since the oxygen atom of the hydroxyl group bas two bond pairs and two lone pairs of electrons, therefore, the C-O-H bonds in alkanols is not linear. The C-0 bond in alkanols is formed by overlap of sp3-hybrid orbital of carbon with sp3-hybrid orbital of oxygen. The C-0-H bond angle in alkanols is slightly less than the regular tetrahedral angle (109.5°). It is due to greater repulsion of lone pairs of oxygen on the bond pairs. The C-0 bond length in alkanols is 142 pm.

As oxygen is more electronegative than carbon and hydrogen, therefore, C-0 and 0-H bonds in alkanols are polar bonds and hence alkanols possess a net dipole moment. Methanol has a dipole moment of 1.71 D.