Hydroxyacetic acid

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Colorless, deliquescent crystals that occur naturally as a component in sugarcane. Hydroxyacetic acid, or glycolic acid, is a weak acid. It is sold commercially as a 70% solution. It is used in processing and dyeing textiles and Leather. Hydroxyacetic acid is also used for cleaning, polishing, and soldering metals.

Synonyms and Related Terms

glycolic acid; hydroxyethanoic acid

Chemical structure

Hydroxyacetic acid.jpg


  • Corrosive.
  • Contact causes irritation and burns.
  • ThermoFisher: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in water, methanol, ethanol, acetone, acetic acid, ether.

Composition CH2OHCOOH
CAS 79-14-1
Melting Point 80 C
Density 1.27 g.ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 76.05

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971
  • 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 4508