Amyl acetate

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A colorless volatile liquid solvent that smells and tastes like bananas. Amyl acetate is a mixture of five isomers and is sometimes sold under the names banana oil or pear oil. Its primary isomer is isoamyl acetate. Amyl acetate was introduced in 1887 as a solvent for Cellulose nitrate (see Zapon lacquer) and was also later used for Cellulose acetate. It has also been used in dyeing and finishing textiles, in linoleum oil cloth, and as a banana flavorant. Amyl acetate is still used as a solvent in nail polishes, leather polishes, waterproof varnishes, bronzing liquids, and metallic paints.

Synonyms and Related Terms

isoamyl acetate; banana oil; pear oil; amylacetic ester


  • Inhalation and contact can cause irritation.
  • Flammable, high fire risk. Flash point = 38 C (100 F)
  • Integra Chem: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Miscible in ethanol, ether, ethyl acetate, amyl alcohol and linseed oil. Slightly soluble in water.

Composition CH3COOC5H11
CAS 628-63-7
Melting Point -70.8 C
Density 0.88 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 130.2
Refractive Index 1.400
Boiling Point 148 C

Resources and Citations

  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 59
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • Kurt Wehlte, The Materials and Techniques of Painting, Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1975
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 5125
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Termlist for conservation at
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: ref. index=1.400