Butyl lactate

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Chemical structure

Butyl lactate.jpg

A colorless, stable, low volatility liquid. Butyl lactate is used as a solvent for paints, lacquers, varnishes, oils, dyes, inks, and synthetic resins. It is usually blended with other solvents to slow evaporation and increase drying times. Butyl lactate has also been used as a solvent for Polyvinyl acetate based paints. Toch used small amounts of butyl lactate mixed with turpentine for cleaning paintings (Toch 1931).

Synonyms and Related Terms

n-butyl lactate


  • Combustible liquid and vapor.
  • Flash point = 71 C.
  • Toxic.
  • Contact causes irritation
  • Fisher Scientific: MSDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Miscible with most oils and organic solvents. Slightly soluble in water. Hydrolyzed with acids or alkalis.

Composition CH3CHOHCOOC4H9
CAS 138-22-7
Melting Point -43 C
Density 0.974-0.984 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 146.19
Refractive Index 1.4216
Boiling Point 188 C

Resources and Citations

  • M. Toch, Paint, Paintings and Restoration, D.Van Nostrand, New York, 1931.
  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • R. Mayer, The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques, Viking Press, New York, 1981
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993