Molecular formula: CH3COOH
Vital Minerals Acetic Acid 80% / strong white vinegar (Ethanoic Acid) supplied in HDPE bottle. IMAGE IF FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES ONLY.
Vinyl acetate monomer
The major use of acetic acid is for the production of vinyl acetate monomer (VAM). This application consumes approximately 40% to 45% of the world’s production of acetic acid. The reaction is of ethylene and acetic acid with oxygen over a palladium catalyst.
The major esters of acetic acid are commonly used solvents for inks, paints and coatings. The esters include ethyl acetate, n-butyl acetate, isobutyl acetate, and propyl acetate
Vinegar is typically 4-18% acetic acid by mass. Vinegar is used directly as a condiment, and in the pickling of vegetables and other foods. Table vinegar tends to be more diluted (4% to 8% acetic acid), while commercial food pickling, in general, employs solutions that are more concentrated.
Use as solvent
Glacial acetic acid is an excellent polar protic solvent, as noted above. It is frequently used as a solvent for recrystallization to purify organic compounds. Acetic acid is used as a solvent in the production of terephthalic acid (TPA), the raw material for polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
Dilute solutions of acetic acids are also used as a stop bath during the development of photographic films, and in descaling agents to remove limescale from taps and kettles. In the clinical laboratory dilute acetic acid lyse red blood cells in order to facilitate microscopic examination.