Important Differences between Acetone and Acetic Acid

Acetone Acid

Acetone is a colorless, volatile, and highly flammable organic compound with the chemical formula (CH3)2CO. Its IUPAC name is propanone. Acetone is one of the simplest and most commonly used ketones. It has a distinctive sweet odor and is typically found in liquid form at room temperature.

Characteristics and Uses of acetone:

  1. Solvent: Acetone is a powerful solvent and is widely used in various industries and household applications. It can dissolve a wide range of organic compounds, making it useful for cleaning and degreasing purposes.
  2. Nail Polish Remover: One of the most common household uses of acetone is as a nail polish remover. It effectively removes nail polish from fingernails and toenails.
  3. Chemical Intermediate: Acetone serves as an important intermediate chemical in the production of many other compounds, including plastics, synthetic fibers, and pharmaceuticals.
  4. Paint and Coating Industry: Acetone is used as a solvent in the formulation of paints, varnishes, and coatings.
  5. Laboratory and Industrial Processes: It is used in laboratories and industrial processes for cleaning and as a solvent for various reactions.
  6. Medical and Cosmetic Applications: In the medical and cosmetic fields, acetone may be used as a component in some skin care products and in medical procedures such as skin cleaning and adhesive removal.
  7. Fuel Additive: Acetone has been explored as a potential fuel additive to improve the combustion efficiency of gasoline engines, although its use for this purpose remains limited.

Structure of Acetone

In this structural formula:

  • The central atom is a carbon (C) atom.
  • The carbon atom in the middle is double-bonded to an oxygen (O) atom, forming a carbonyl group (C=O).
  • Each carbon atom is bonded to two hydrogen (H) atoms, and there is also a hydrogen atom attached to the oxygen atom.

Preparation of Acetone

Acetone, also known as propanone, is typically prepared through various chemical processes, including the dehydrogenation of isopropyl alcohol or the oxidation of cumene. Here are two common methods for preparing acetone:

  1. Dehydrogenation of Isopropyl Alcohol: This method involves the dehydrogenation (removal of hydrogen atoms) of isopropyl alcohol to produce acetone.

Steps: a. Isopropyl alcohol (2-propanol) is heated and passed over a catalyst, often copper-based, at elevated temperatures (around 500-600°C).

  1. During the dehydrogenation process, isopropyl alcohol loses hydrogen atoms to form acetone and water as byproducts:

CH3-CHOH-CH3 (Isopropyl Alcohol) → CH3-CO-CH3 (Acetone) + H2O

  1. The resulting mixture is then cooled and condensed to separate acetone from water.
  2. Oxidation of Cumene: Another common method involves the oxidation of cumene (isopropylbenzene) to produce acetone and phenol. This method is often used in industrial settings.

Steps: a. Cumene is oxidized using air or oxygen in the presence of an acid catalyst, typically a sulfuric acid/phosphoric acid mixture.

  1. The oxidation reaction produces both acetone and phenol:

C6H5-CH(CH3)2 (Cumene) + O2 → C6H5-CO-CH3 (Acetone) + C6H5-OH (Phenol)

  1. After the reaction, acetone and phenol are separated, often through distillation.

Properties of Acetone

Acetone is a widely used organic solvent with a variety of physical and chemical properties.

  1. Physical State: Acetone is a colorless, clear, and highly volatile liquid at room temperature and pressure. It has a distinctive sweet, fruity odor.
  2. Chemical Formula: The chemical formula of acetone is C3H6O.
  3. Molecular Weight: The molecular weight of acetone is approximately 58.08 g/mol.
  4. Melting Point: Acetone has a melting point of -94.7°C (-138.5°F), making it a liquid at typical room temperatures.
  5. Boiling Point: The boiling point of acetone is 56.2°C (132.2°F).
  6. Density: The density of acetone is about 0.79 g/cm³ at 20°C (68°F).
  7. Solubility: Acetone is highly soluble in water, ethanol, and many organic solvents. This high solubility in water makes it useful for various applications, including as a solvent in chemical processes.
  8. Flammability: Acetone is highly flammable and has a low flash point of around -20°C (-4°F). It can readily ignite when exposed to an open flame or spark.
  9. Vapour Pressure: Acetone has a relatively high vapor pressure at room temperature, contributing to its volatility.
  10. Reactivity: Acetone is a reactive compound and can participate in various chemical reactions. It contains a carbonyl group (C=O), which makes it susceptible to nucleophilic addition reactions.
  11. Miscibility: Acetone is miscible (able to mix completely) with water, which is a unique property among many organic solvents. This property is valuable for various applications, including the removal of water-sensitive substances.
  12. Odor Threshold: Acetone has a noticeable and somewhat sweet odor, and its odor threshold is relatively low, meaning it can be detected at low concentrations in the air.
  13. Dielectric Constant: The dielectric constant (relative permittivity) of acetone is approximately 20.7, making it a moderately polar solvent.
  14. Toxicity: Acetone is generally considered safe when used in well-ventilated areas and following proper handling procedures. However, it can be harmful if ingested, inhaled in high concentrations, or if it comes into contact with the skin or eyes.
  15. Use as a Solvent: Acetone is a versatile solvent and is commonly used in various industries for cleaning, degreasing, and as a solvent in the production of chemicals, plastics, and pharmaceuticals.

Uses of Acetone

  1. Nail Polish Remover: Acetone is widely used as an effective nail polish remover for fingernails and toenails.
  2. Paint and Coating Industry: Acetone is used as a solvent in the formulation of paints, varnishes, and coatings. It helps dissolve and disperse various resins and pigments.
  3. Chemical Manufacturing: Acetone serves as an essential intermediate in the production of various chemicals, including plastics, synthetic fibers, and pharmaceuticals.
  4. Solvent: Acetone is a powerful solvent and is used for cleaning and degreasing surfaces in both industrial and household settings. It can effectively dissolve a wide range of organic compounds.
  5. Adhesive Removal: It is used to remove adhesives and sticky residues from surfaces, such as tape residue, glue, and labels.
  6. Laboratory and Industrial Processes: Acetone is used in laboratories and industrial processes for cleaning equipment, glassware, and as a solvent for chemical reactions.
  7. Cosmetic and Personal Care Products: Acetone is used in some cosmetic and personal care products, such as nail polish, nail polish remover, and skin creams.
  8. Pharmaceutical Industry: It can be used as a reagent in pharmaceutical manufacturing processes.
  9. Medical and Healthcare: Acetone may be used in medical applications for cleaning and disinfection purposes, such as preparing skin for medical procedures.
  10. Fuel Additive: Acetone has been explored as a potential fuel additive to improve the combustion efficiency of gasoline engines, although its use for this purpose remains limited.
  11. Thinning Agents: It is used as a thinning agent in some epoxy and fiberglass resin systems.
  12. Extraction and Purification: In chemistry and research, acetone is often used for extracting and purifying specific compounds from mixtures.
  13. Printing Industry: Acetone-based solvents are used in the printing industry for cleaning and maintaining printing equipment.
  14. Electronics Manufacturing: Acetone can be used in the electronics industry for cleaning circuit boards and removing flux residues.
  15. Agricultural Applications: Acetone is occasionally used in agriculture as a solvent for certain pesticides and herbicides.

Acetic Acid

Acetic acid, also known as ethanoic acid, is a colorless liquid organic compound with the chemical formula CH3COOH. It is a weak acid and a key component of vinegar, which gives vinegar its characteristic sour taste and pungent smell.

Uses of Acetic Acid:

  • Food Industry: Acetic acid is a major component of vinegar, which is used in food preparation, cooking, and preservation. It is also used to impart a sour taste in various food products.
  • Chemical Industry: Acetic acid is a crucial chemical in the production of various chemicals, including acetic anhydride, acetate esters, and synthetic fibers like cellulose acetate.
  • Solvent: It is used as a solvent for various organic compounds and in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and chemicals.
  • Laboratory Reagent: Acetic acid is used as a laboratory reagent for various chemical tests and reactions.
  • Textile Industry: It is used in the textile industry for dyeing and finishing processes.
  • Preservation: In addition to food preservation, acetic acid is sometimes used to preserve wood and as a cleaning agent.
  • Medical and Healthcare: Dilute acetic acid solutions are used in some medical and healthcare applications, such as ear drops for the treatment of certain ear conditions.

Structure of Acetic Acid

In this structural formula:

  • The central atom is a carbon (C) atom.
  • The carbon atom in the middle is double-bonded to an oxygen (O) atom, forming a carbonyl group (C=O).
  • One of the carbon atoms is also bonded to a hydroxyl group (OH), which makes it an acid functional group (-COOH).
  • Each carbon atom is bonded to one hydrogen (H) atom, and there is also a hydrogen atom attached to the oxygen atom.

Physical Properties of Acetic Acid

  1. Physical State: Acetic acid is a colorless, pungent-smelling liquid at room temperature and standard atmospheric pressure (25°C or 77°F).
  2. Odor and Taste: Acetic acid has a strong, pungent, and characteristic vinegar-like odor and a sour taste. It is the primary component responsible for the sour taste and smell of vinegar.
  3. Chemical Formula: CH3COOH
  4. Molecular Weight: Approximately 60.05 g/mol
  5. Density: The density of acetic acid is about 1.05 g/cm³ at room temperature.
  6. Melting Point: Acetic acid freezes at approximately 16.6°C (62°F).
  7. Boiling Point: The boiling point of acetic acid is around 118-119°C (244-246°F).
  8. Solubility: Acetic acid is highly soluble in water, alcohol, and many organic solvents. This high solubility in water contributes to its effectiveness as an acid in various applications.
  9. Viscosity: Acetic acid has a relatively low viscosity, making it flow easily as a liquid.
  10. Hydrogen Bonding: Acetic acid molecules can form hydrogen bonds with each other and with water molecules due to the presence of polar functional groups (carbonyl group and hydroxyl group). This contributes to its solubility and some of its physical properties.
  11. Refractive Index: The refractive index of acetic acid is approximately 1.371 at 20°C.
  12. Vapor Pressure: Acetic acid has a significant vapor pressure at room temperature, which means it can readily evaporate into the air.
  13. Flash Point: The flash point of acetic acid is relatively low, around 39°C (102°F), making it flammable.
  14. Dielectric Constant: The dielectric constant (relative permittivity) of acetic acid is approximately 6.2.
  15. Acid Strength: Acetic acid is a weak acid, meaning it only partially dissociates into hydrogen ions (H+) and acetate ions (CH3COO-) in aqueous solutions. Its dissociation constant (Ka) is relatively small compared to strong acids like hydrochloric acid.
  16. Isomerism: Acetic acid exists in different forms or isomers, including glacial acetic acid, which is a highly concentrated form (nearly 100% pure) and typically sold as a clear, colorless solid at low temperatures.

Chemical Properties of Acetic Acid

  1. Acidic Nature: Acetic acid is a weak acid, and it can donate a proton (H+) to aqueous solutions. In water, it partially dissociates into acetate ions (CH3COO-) and hydrogen ions (H+). This property gives acetic acid its characteristic sour taste and its ability to react with bases.
  2. Reactions with Bases: Acetic acid reacts with bases to form acetate salts. For example, when acetic acid reacts with sodium hydroxide (a strong base), it forms sodium acetate and water:

CH3COOH + NaOH → CH3COONa + H2O

  1. Ester Formation: Acetic acid can react with alcohols in the presence of an acid catalyst to form acetate esters. This reaction is called esterification. For example, reacting acetic acid with ethanol (ethyl alcohol) can produce ethyl acetate:

CH3COOH + C2H5OH → CH3COOC2H5 + H2O

Ethyl acetate is commonly used as a solvent and flavoring agent.

  1. Oxidation: Acetic acid can be oxidized to form carbon dioxide (CO2) and water, typically in the presence of an oxidizing agent. This process can occur when acetic acid is exposed to air over an extended period, leading to the formation of vinegar (acetic acid) from ethanol. It is also the basis of the production of glacial acetic acid.
  2. Reaction with Metals: Acetic acid can react with certain reactive metals like aluminum and zinc to produce hydrogen gas:

2CH3COOH + 2Al → 2CH3COOAl + H2

  1. Reaction with Carbonates and Bicarbonates: Acetic acid reacts with carbonates (e.g., calcium carbonate) and bicarbonates (e.g., sodium bicarbonate) to produce carbon dioxide gas, water, and the corresponding acetate salt:

CH3COOH + NaHCO3 → CH3COONa + H2O + CO2

  1. Polymerization: Under certain conditions, acetic acid can undergo polymerization to form polyacetic acid, a high-molecular-weight polymer.
  2. Reaction with Ammonia: Acetic acid can react with ammonia (NH3) to form ammonium acetate.

CH3COOH + NH3 → CH3COONH4

  1. Hydrolysis: Acetic anhydride, a derivative of acetic acid, can undergo hydrolysis in the presence of water to regenerate acetic acid.

(CH3CO)2O + H2O → 2CH3COOH

Important Differences between Acetone and Acetic Acid

Basis of Comparison

Acetone Acetic Acid
Chemical Formula (CH3)2CO CH3COOH
Common Name Acetone Acetic Acid
Molecular Weight Approximately 58.08 g/mol Approximately 60.05 g/mol
State at Room Temperature Liquid Liquid
Odor and Taste Sweet odor, no taste Pungent, sour taste
Type of Compound Ketone Carboxylic Acid
Dissociation in Water Does not dissociate Partial dissociation
Acidic or Basic Neither acidic nor basic Weak acid
Reacts with Bases Generally doesn’t react Reacts to form salts
Solubility in Water Highly soluble Highly soluble
Melting Point -94.7°C (-138.5°F) 16.6°C (62°F)
Boiling Point 56.2°C (132.2°F) 118-119°C (244-246°F)
Flammability Highly flammable Flammable
Principal Use Solvent, nail polish remover Vinegar, chemical synthesis
Structure Ketone with carbonyl group Carboxylic acid with carboxyl group
Ester Formation Can form acetate esters Can form acetate esters

Similarities between Acetone and Acetic Acid

  1. Chemical Composition: Both acetone and acetic acid contain carbon (C), hydrogen (H), and oxygen (O) atoms in their chemical structures.
  2. Liquid at Room Temperature: Acetone and acetic acid are both liquids at standard room temperature and pressure (25°C or 77°F).
  3. Solubility in Water: Both compounds are highly soluble in water, making them readily mix with aqueous solutions.
  4. Used in the Chemical Industry: Both acetone and acetic acid are important chemicals used in various chemical and industrial processes.
  5. Laboratory Reagents: They are commonly used as laboratory reagents for different chemical reactions and experiments.
  6. Flammable: Both acetone and acetic acid are flammable compounds with low flash points.
  7. Volatile: They have relatively high vapor pressures, which means they can readily evaporate into the air.
  8. Common Household Products: Both can be found in common household products, although in different forms. Acetone is often used as nail polish remover, while acetic acid is a component of vinegar.
  9. Reactive Functional Groups: Both compounds contain functional groups in their structures. Acetone contains a carbonyl group (C=O) as a ketone, while acetic acid contains a carboxyl group (-COOH) as a carboxylic acid.
  10. Used in the Food Industry: Acetone is sometimes used as a food additive, while acetic acid is a major component of vinegar, which is commonly used in food preparation and preservation.

Advisory Note: Article shared based on knowledge available on internet and for the Knowledge purpose only. Please contact Professional/Advisor/Doctor for treatment/Consultation.

Articles on intactone.com are general information, and are not intended to substitute for Professional Advice. The information is “AS IS”, “WITH ALL FAULTS”. User assumes all risk of Use, Damage, or Injury. You agree that we have no liability for any damages.

error: Content is protected !!
%d bloggers like this: