Acetic Acid: Application and Properties
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Acetic acid is an organic chemical compound that is considered as the simplest and one of the most important carboxylic acids. This is that very substance that gives vinegar its taste and smell. The formula of acetic acid can be written in three ways: CH3COOH, C2H4O2, and CH3CO2H. Its CAS Number is 64-19-7. The systematic IUPAC name of the chemical is ethanoic acid, besides, it can be called hydrogen acetate or methanecarboxylic acid.

General Properties

Both odor and color of acetic acid strongly resemble vinegar: it is a clear colorless liquid with a pungent smell. If pure, it is called glacial acetic acid. In this state, it is highly hygroscopic and freezes at temperatures below 16.7oC. The other properties of the compound include:

  • molecular weight: 60.05 g·mol−1;
  • density: 1.049 g cm−3;
  • boiling point: 118 to 119oC;
  • melting point: 16 to 17o

The acid is characterized by an extreme solubility. What’s more, in pure state, it is very corrosive, and in order to prevent any possible health hazards acetic acid should be handled with appropriate care. It requires wearing specially resistant nitrile rubber gloves and eye protection, since the chemical can cause burns and permanent eye damage.

Applications

Among all of the acetic acid uses, the most popular is its application as a reagent for production of different chemical compounds. Nearly 45% of the world’s manufacture of this substance goes for the making of vinyl acetate monomer. It also plays a leading role in the production of acetic anhydride.

Dilute acid in the form of vinegar is widely applied as a condiment and for pickling of vegetables. It is the oldest application of ethanoic acid. As this chemical is a good polar solvent, it is often used to purify organic compounds. In analytical chemistry, it serves to estimate the weakly alkaline substances, like organic amides.

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