Furfuryl alcohol, also known as 2-furylmethanol or 2-furancarbinol, is a clear colorless liquid with a chemical formula of C5H6O2. It is found in arabica coffee and is isolated from coffee aroma, tea, wheat bread, crispbread, soybean, cocoa, rice, potato chips, and other sources.
Furfuryl alcohol becomes amber colored when left to stand. It possesses a faint burning odor and has a bitter taste. It is miscible in water and is soluble in common organic solvents. Upon treatment with acids, heat and/or catalysts, furfuryl alcohol can be made to polymerize into a resin known as poly(furfuryl alcohol).
Furfuryl alcohol is produced by a liquid phase process in which hydroxymethylfurfural is decarbonylated at a temperature at or above 135° C in the presence of a palladium or rhodium catalyst. The furfuryl alcohol produced is then continuously stripped from the reaction medium.
Building and Construction
Furfuryl alcohol may also be added to cement and mortar used in flooring. The alcohol makes the flooring compounds much stronger and denser. Cement shrinkage is less than one percent and can withstand very high temperatures. Often, furfuryl resin is the component added to cement, not pure furfuryl alcohol.
Furfuryl alcohol is the ignition source used in rocket fuel. When the alcohol comes into contact with the oxidizer agents, typically nitric acid, it ignites. The alcohol fuel is hypergolic. This type of fuel does not require a flame or ignition. When the oxidizer and fuel come into contact with one another, the fuel spontaneously ignites.
This reactive alcohol plays a vital role in the production of foundry sand binders. It has been extensively used to produce cores and molds for metal casting. The remarkable properties of this chemical - low viscosity, high reactivity and excellent solvent characteristics - have led to the success in this field.