Ethyl acetate, also known as ethyl
ethanoate, is one of the most widely used organic compounds with the chemical
formula CH3COOCH2CH3. Ethyl acetate is a
colourless liquid at room temperature with a characteristic sweet smell.
Ethyl acetate is synthesized in
industry mainly via the Fischer esterification reaction of ethanol and acetic
acid. This mixture converts to the ester in about 65% yield at room
CH3CH2OH + CH3COOH → CH3COOCH2CH3 + H2O
The reaction can be accelerated by
acid catalysis and the equilibrium can be shifted to the right by removal of
It can also be prepared using the
Tishchenko reaction, by combining two equivalents of acetaldehyde in the
presence of an alkoxide catalyst:
2 CH3CHO → CH3COOCH2CH3
Ethyl Acetate is a solvent and
diluent because of its low cost, toxicity and agreeable odour. It is commonly
used in a wide range of applications, including printing, inks, varnishes and
car care chemicals and in the production of enamels, plastics and rubber.
Paint and Coating
It is used in variety of paint and
coating formulations such as epoxies, urethanes, acrylics and vinyls for
applications in wood furniture and fixtures, agricultural, construction and
mining equipment, auto refinishing, marine, etc.
It also plays a role in manufacturing
printing inks, in the packaging industry and in the production of adhesives. In perfumes, it evaporates quickly,
leaving only the scent of perfume on the skin.