Alcohols are obtained from the corresponding halogen compounds by the action of moist silver oxide, or by warming them with silver acetate and acetic acid; by the reduction of ketones with metallic sodium; by passing the vapours of monohydric phenols and hydrogen over finely divided nickel (P. Sabatier and J.
Alcohols are classified on two distinct principles, one depending upon the number of hydroxyl groups present, the other on the nature of the remaining groups attached to the carbon atom which carries the hydroxyl group. Monatomic or monohydric alcohols contain only one hydroxyl group; diatomic, two, known as glycols; triatomic, three, known as glycerols; and so on.
Esters formed by the union of three molecules of fatty acids with one molecule of the trihydric alcohol glycerin, whereas the waxes consist of esters formed by the union of one molecule of fatty acid with one molecule of a monohydric alcohol, such as cetyl alcohol, cholesterol, &c. Only in the case of the wax coccerin two molecules of fatty acids are combined with one molecule of a dihydric (bivalent) alcohol.
Waxes The waxes consist chiefly of the fatty acid esters of the higher monohydric alcohols, with which are frequently associated free alcohols as also free fatty acids.