Methyl acetate

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A colorless solvent with a fragrant odor. Methyl acetate is the methyl ester of acetic acid. It is used as a solvent for Cellulose nitrate and as a Paint remover. It is also used in the manufacture of artificial leather.

Chemical structure

Methyl acetate.jpg

Synonyms and Related Terms

methyl ester of acetic acid


  • Overexposure can cause skin irritation.
  • Ingestion may cause headaches, drowsiness and optical atrophy.
  • May decompose in aqueous solutions to form acetic acid.
  • Flammable. Flash point = -9C (15F). Fire and explosion risk.
  • ThermoFisher: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in water. Miscible in ethanol and ether.

Hydrolyzes in water to acetic acid.

Composition CH3COOCH3
CAS 79-20-9
Melting Point -98 C
Density 0.9279 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 74
Refractive Index 1.3619
Boiling Point 56.9 C

Resources and Citations

  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 6089; ref. index=1.3619
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: ref. index=1.360