Wood can undergo decomposition to produce methyl alcohol.
1. Set up the distillation apparatus as shown in Figure 2. As you do, keep these points in mind:
The two test tubes should be connected to two ring stands with utility clamps.
The test tube that will be heated should be placed horizontally or at an angle as shown in Figure 2. It will contain the stopper with a single hole. This test tube will be positioned over a Bunsen burner.
The test tube that will collect the products will be placed vertically and have the stopper with two holes.
The long piece of L-shaped glass tubing will connect the two test tubes.
The short piece of L-shaped tubing will be placed into the second hole of the vertical test tube.
2. Fill the horizontal tube about one-fourth full with wood chips.
3. Light the Bunsen burner with a int striker and place it directly below
the wood chips in the test tube.
4. Heat the wood chips thoroughly so that they become completely charred.
5. Light a match in the mouth of the small L-shaped tube. Record your observations in your science notebook.
6. Once the wood has completely decomposed, turn off the Bunsen burner and observe the mixture in the condensation tube. Record your observations in your science notebook.
7. Allow the mixture in the condensation tube to cool, then carefully pour a small amount of the top layer of liquid onto a watch glass. Be very careful not to touch the liquid or directly inhale its vapour.
8. Place the watch glass on a heat proof surface. In order to test for the presence of methanol, light a match and carefully touch it to the liquid in the watch glass; the liquid should ignite. The flame will extinguish itself once the alcohol has been burned off.