Acetic acid (CH3COOH, CAS 64-19-7) is a weak organic acid. A key component of metabolism with applications as a hydrophilic protic solvent, reagent, antibacterial agent, and manufacturing component; can be diluted into vinegar or concentrated into glacial acetic acid.
Also known as ethanoic acid or methane carboxylic acid, acetic acid is a colorless liquid organic compound with a pungent smell and a distinctively sour taste. Acetic acid may be produced industrially from methanol or by bacterial fermentation.
In the laboratory, acetic acid is used as a chemical solvent or reagent, and its antibacterial properties are used to prevent the growth of fungus and bacteria.
Acetic acid has multiple commercial uses, including:
- As a solvent
- In the production of cellulose acetate and polyvinyl acetate
- For making acetate, acetic acid ethylene, acetic anhydride, and halogenated acetic acid
- As a component for manufacturing inks and dyes, synthetic fibers and textiles, pesticides, and wood glues
Corrosive in its concentrated form, workers should use proper personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent ingestion, inhalation, and contact with eyes and skin; suitable respiratory equipment may also be appropriate. Keep acetic acid away from heat sources and oxidizing agents, reducing agents, acids, and alkalis. Store in a cool, well-ventilated area.