Acetic Acid Applications

Acetic Acid Uses


Acetic Acid Uses

Acetic acid which is also known as methane carboxylic acid and ethanoic acid is basically a clear, colorless liquid, which has a strong and pungent smell. Since it has a carbon atom in its chemical formula, it is an organic compound and it comes with a chemical formula CH3COOH. Interestingly, the word ‘acetic’ is derived from a Latin word called ‘acetum’ meaning ‘vinegar’. Vinegar is the dilute form of acetic acid and is the most common chemical substance among people. Acetic acid is a main component of vinegar and also gives vinegar its characteristic smell.

Acetic acid (CH3COOH), also called ethanoic acid, is the most important of the carboxylic acids. A dilute (approximately 5 percent by volume) solution of acetic acid produced by fermentation and oxidation of natural carbohydrates is called vinegar; a salt, ester, or acylal of acetic acid is called acetate. Industrially, acetic acid is used in the preparation of metal acetates, used in some printing processes; vinyl acetate, employed in the production of plastics; cellulose acetate, used in making photographic films and textiles; and volatile organic esters (such as ethyl and butyl acetates), widely used as solvents for resins, paints, and lacquers. Biologically, acetic acid is an important metabolic intermediate, and it occurs naturally in body fluids and in plant juices.

Moving on, when acetic acid or ethanoic acid is undiluted it is termed glacial acetic acid. It is a weak acid but when it is in concentrated form, this acid is corrosive and can cause some damage to the skin.

Important and Popular Uses of Acetic Acid

There are many uses of acetic acid. So, in addition to being treated just as a food preservative (vinegar), the acid is used in many areas and instances. Some top and important uses include:
Industrial Use
Medicinal Uses
Food Industry

We will be discussing some of it below:

Industrial Use

Acetic acid is used in many industrial processes for the production of substrates and it is often used as a chemical reagent for the production of a number of chemical compounds like acetic anhydride, ester, vinyl acetate monomer, vinegar, and many other polymeric materials. It is also used to purify organic compounds as it can be used as a solvent for recrystallization.

Medical Use

Acetic acid has a lot of uses in the medical field. The most important uses here are that it can be used as an antiseptic against pseudomonas, enterococci, streptococci, staphylococci, and others. It is also used in cervical cancer screening and for the treatment of infections. Further, it is used as an agent to lyse red blood cells before white blood cells are examined. Vinegar has also been said to reduce high concentrations of blood sugar.

Food Industry

In the food industry, acetic acid finds its use most commonly in commercial pickling operations, and in condiments like mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup. It is also used for seasoning various food items like salads etc. Additionally, vinegar can react with alkaline ingredients like baking soda and when that happens it produces a gas that helps to make baked goods become.

Household Uses

Acetic acid which is a dilute solution is used extensively as vinegar. And as we are familiar, vinegar is widely used for cleaning, laundry, cooking, and many other household uses. Farmers usually spray acetic acid on livestock silage to counter bacterial and fungal growth.

Apart from these, acetic acid is used for the manufacture of inks and dyes and it is also used in making perfumes. It is also involved in the manufacturing of rubber and plastic industries.

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