Alcohol followup - hygroscopicity of anhydrous ethanol

From:"Morken, Tim"

Do you suppose "hygroscopicity" is a real word? 

In any case, in the recent discussion on alcohols it was stated by someone
that 100 percent (anhydrous) ethanol would absorb water "very quickly" and
so be non-100 percent. I have always believed that as well (after all, it is
stated in most histology and EM books), but decided to test some 100 percent
that had been exposed to air in a stain line for about two weeks. With my
hydrometer it tested at 100 percent. Of course it is not too humid in
Atlanta this time of year (about 35 percent), but if anhydrous ethanol is
supposed to be hygroscopic you would think it would have taken in a little
water in the two weeks it has been exposed. As it is ,it has appeared to
take in NO water. Any thoughts or comments?

Tim Morken
CDC, Atlanta

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