Acetic acid

What is acetic acid?

The acetic acid , also known as acid or ethanoic acid methyl carboxy, it is a substance which is present in the composition of the vinegar and is primarily responsible for the smell and taste it has. This acid is weak in character and can be found in some fermentation processes such as wine or some fruits.

This type of acid is commonly used to clean and purify kitchen spaces or as a complement to salad dressing or in sauces for consumption, as an accompaniment to some food. It is important to note that this chemical component is generally diluted in water between 3 and 5% ; This is because its consumption or ingestion in its pure form is harmful to health.

Chemical composition

Also called ethanoic acid or methylenecarboxylic acid , it is an organic acid with two carbon atoms, it can be found in the form of an acetate ionIts formula is CH3-COOH (C2H4O2) , the carboxyl group being the one that confers the acidic properties to the molecule. This is an acid found in vinegar, being the main responsible for its sour taste and smell. According to the IUPAC it is systematically called ethanoic acid.

Chemical properties

  • Dipole moment of 1.74 D
  • It is insoluble in carbon sulfide.
  • Soluble in water, alcohol, ether, glycerin, acetone, benzene, and carbon tetrachloride.
  • Anhydrous crystallizes at 17 ° C taking on an ice-like appearance, known as glacial acetic acid.
  • Good solvent for various organic compounds and some inorganic compounds such as sulfur and phosphorus.

Physical properties

  • Is colorless
  • It is a hydroscopic liquid.
  • It has a pungent odor, characteristic of the component.
  • Boiling point 118.05 ° C
  • Melting point of 16.6 ° C


  1. To season
  2. To disinfect
  3. It is used to make esters and essences.
  4. It is an excellent color fixative.
  5. It is a solvent.
  6. It is managed to obtain raw material from other components such as acetone, aspirin, acetate, among others.
  7. Within the beekeeping process it is used to control larvae or moths.
  8. Previously it was used for the development of film cameras.
  9. In the medical area it is managed to determine HPV infections.
  10. As an insecticide or herbicide.
  11. It is used for the manufacture of lacquers in the aeronautical industry.
  12. It is used to make adhesive compounds.
  13. It is used for the production of acetate.
  14. It is used to produce monochloroacetic acid.
  15. It is handled as a bactericide
  16. It serves as a neutralizer and vehicle in the dyeing processes in the textile industry.
  17. Dyeing vehicle in the leather industry.

Risks that may arise from consumption or excessive contact with acetic acid

If the chemical component is ingested in large quantities it can cause:

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Throat pain.
  • Irritation in the digestive tract.
  • Threw up
  • Diarrhea

If it is inhaled or has direct and constant contact with the skin it can cause:

  • Throat pain
  • Irritation
  • Burns
  • Difficulty breathing

If it has direct contact with the eyes it can cause:

  • Irritability
  • Difficulty observing
  • Moderate to severe burns.

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