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Acetic Acid

  1. Frank S. Wagner Jr.

Published Online: 19 JUL 2002

DOI: 10.1002/0471238961.0103052023010714.a01.pub2

Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology

Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology

How to Cite

Wagner, F. S. 2002. Acetic Acid. Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. .

Author Information

  1. Nandina Corporation

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 JUL 2002

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Acetic acid, CH3COOH, is a corrosive organic acid having a sharp odor, burning taste, and pernicious blistering properties. It is found in ocean water, oilfield brines, rain, and at trace concentrations in many plant and animal liquids, and has a place in organic processes comparable to sulfuric acid in the mineral chemical industries. It is central to all biological energy pathways. Fermentation of fruit and vegetable juices yields 2–12% acetic acid solutions, usually called vinegar. Uses include the manufacture of vinyl acetate, acetic anhydride and terephthalic acid. Vinyl acetate is used to make latex emulsion resins for paints and adhesives. Acetic anhydride is used in making cellulose acetate fibers and cellulosic plastics. About one-half of the world production comes from methanol carbonylation and about one-third from acetaldehyde oxidation. Glacial acetic acid is dangerous, but its precise toxic dose is not known for humans. Vinegar, on the other hand, which is dilute acetic acid, has been used in foods and beverages since ancient times.


  • acetic Acid;
  • fermentation;
  • acetic anhydride;
  • glacial acetic acid;
  • acetaldehyde;
  • methanal;
  • carbonylation;
  • butane;
  • poly(ethylene trephthalate) resins;
  • vinegar;
  • cellulose acetate;
  • vinyl acetate