Common name for either isopropanol
), or a mixture of ethanol
) and methanol
). It is usually sold in stores watered down to about 70%.
I believe its name is derived from it use as a cooling rub for use after muscle injuries. Alcohol rapidly evaporates, leaving a cooling feeling on the skin. It is a rubefacient, causing the skin to take on a rosy blush.
Isopropanol is also used for disinfection, and is often the ingredient in the swab your skin is given before you receive a shot at the doctor's office. Common thinking is that you should give isopropanol ten minutes to fully kill any germs.
Mixed with ammonia, it makes a great glass cleaner. On its own, it is a great solvent for many cleaning jobs. Most computer users will be familiar with the substance as a way to clean mouse balls (but beware the drunk mouse syndrome), clean screens and keyboards, and in a high enough concentration, clean magnetic drive heads in tape and disk drives.
Isopropanol is poisonous. The ethanol is always denatured with methanol to make it poisonous. (This is, strangly, so that it no longer falls under liquor laws.) Drinking either kind of rubbing alcohol can cause severe gastric problems, blindness, and death. Don't drink this stuff. Using it topically can dry out the skin as its solvent action removes natural oils from your skin. Finally, it is flammable, burning with a nearly-invisible blue flame that often cannot be seen in daylight.
Lastly, it is apparently the name of an indie rock Band. But then again, isn't everything?