Acetic anhydride

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A colorless liquid with a strong Acetic acid odor. Acetic anhydride is a strong acetylating agent and is used primarily for the production of Cellulose acetate fibers and plastics. It is also used in the production of pharmaceuticals, dyes, perfumes, and explosives.

Chemical structure

Acetic anhydride.jpg

Synonyms and Related Terms

acetic acid anhydride; acetyl oxide; acetic oxide; ethanoic anhydride


  • Readily combustible, fire hazard.
  • Overexposure may result in edema, eye irritation, cough, skin burns and dermatitis.
  • ThermoFisher: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Reacts with water slowly to form acetic acid. Reacts with alcohols to form the corresponding acetate. Soluble in chloroform and ether.

Composition (CH3CO)2O
CAS 108-24-7
Melting Point -73 C
Density 1.080 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 102.2
Refractive Index 1.3904
Boiling Point 139 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: ref. index=1.3904
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p.8
  • Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Dictionary of Fiber & Textile Technology (older version called Man-made Fiber and Textile Dictionary, 1965), Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Charlotte NC, 1990
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: ref. index=1.389