opropyl alcohol (also isopropanol, rubbing alcohol, or the abbreviation IPA) is a common name for propan-2-ol, a colorless, flammable chemical compound with a strong odor. It has the chemical formula C3H8O and is the simplest example of a secondary alcohol, where the alcohol carbon is attached to two other carbons. It is an isomer of propanol.
Sterilizing pads typically contain a 60-70% solution of isopropanol in water. Isopropyl alcohol is also commonly used as a cleaner and solvent in industry. It is also used as a gasoline additive for dissolving water or ice in fuel lines. Although Isopropanol is sometimes sold as “Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol, 70%” and “Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol, 99%” (harder to find but generally more useful for experimenters & cleaning uses), there is no isopropyl alcohol in the United States Pharmacopeia formula for Rubbing alcohol, U.S.P.. It is used as a disinfectant, and is a common solvent.
It is also a very good cleaning agent and often used for cleaning electronic devices such as contact pins (like those on ROM cartridges), magnetic tape deck and floppy disk drive heads, the lenses of lasers in optical disc drives (e.g. CD, DVD) and removing thermal paste from CPUs. It is also used to clean LCD and glass computer monitor screens (at some risk to the anti-reflection coating of the screen), and used by many music shops to give second-hand or worn records newer looking sheens. It cleans dry-erase boards very well and other unwanted ink related marks.
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