Re: Ethyl-Acetate (wrongly demonized ?)
- Further to this. A little internet research has shown that nail
polish remover can be based on two seperate solvents. Acetone is the
first solvent. Acetone being a highly effective industrial solvent.
Ethyl acetate or similar ester is the second solvent. Nail polish
removers based around ethyl acetate are advertised as being "Acetone
Free" or "Without Acetone Odor".
The MSDS's for Acetone describe it's odor as "fragrant, sweet and
minty". The MSDS's for Ethyl Acetate describe it's odor as
"fragrant, sweet and fruity". In the end, I don't bloody know...
Just going to have to make some. How do you concentrate acetic acid?
--- In Distillers@y..., Mike Gasmier <god@p...> wrote:
> Here's a little experiment from my old high school chemistry
textbook, Elements of Chemistry - Earth, Air, Fire and Water, Vol. 1.
> Experiment 1.14.10
> In this experiment, you can make some esters with familiar odours.
> (a) ethyl acetate
> - Use a dropper pipette to put about 2mL of glacial acetic acid,
CH3COOH, into a test tube.
> - Use a clean dropper pipette to add an equal volume of ethanol,
> - Use another dropper pipette to CAREFULLY add about 1mL of
concentrated sulfuric acid.
> - Stir the mixture slightly and then place the test tube in a
boiling water bath on a hot plate.
> - After about five minutes, pour the contents of teh test tube into
a beaker containing about 10mL of water. Unreacted acetic acid and
alcohol dissolve in the water, leaving the insoluble ester produced
floating on the surface.
> - Describe the odour of the ethyl acetate.
> Well, pure acetic acid is hard to find. Vinegar is only about 15%,
but I wonder. Sulfuric acid can be obtained from a car battery. I
already have some nice and strong alcohol. I'll just have to give
this a go...
> Also taken from the same book:
> Ethyl Acetate is an ester. Esters are formed by reaction between
an alcohol and a carboxylic acid in the presence of concentrated
sulfuric acid. Many esters occur naturally. They have pleasing
fragrances and are responsible for the flavours and fragrances of
many fruits and flowers.
> Fats and oils are also esters. Esters are volatile liquids, not
ionized, and are soluble in organic solvents but not in water.
> Acetone on the other hand is a Ketone, it's systematic name is
actually propanone. Acetone is commonly used as a solvent for
plastics, varnishes and greases. Having worked with acetone in many
industrial situations, I can assure you that the acrid part of the
nail-polish smell commonly described is that of acetone. The same
smell can be smelt in many epoxy glues, slicone glues, and even in
> As for fingernail polish remover, I don't know. I'll get hold of
some and see if it dissolves in water. If it does, then it is not
mainly ethyl-acetate. I can't see that smearing an oil onto your
fingers will dissolve anything though.
> Mike G
- From: Michael [mailto:god@...]
> The MSDS's for Acetone describe it's odor as "fragrant, sweet andI always keep a litre of acetone in the shed -- it's a tremendously
> minty". The MSDS's for Ethyl Acetate describe it's odor as
> "fragrant, sweet and fruity". In the end, I don't bloody know...
> Just going to have to make some. How do you concentrate acetic acid?
useful cleaner and solvent around the workshop. However, it that's
"fragrant, sweet and fruity" either my sense of smell is completely
kyboshed, or the tester sniffed *something else* first.
- Well Mike,
You are energetic in your research.
Thanks already for all the interesting findings.
I was mixed up by the use of "solvent smell" in some of the postings.
"Solvent" really is a general term. There are many solvents and they
all smell different.
In the meantime, I see now that it is possible to have nice flavours,
but in too high concentrations. Acetone and methanol are fully
undesired, ethyl acetate seems to be a wanted flavour in many
Then there is the point that certain chemicals can have a nice smell
but at the same time taste quite differently.
Taste and smell seem to be VERY complex mechanisms and I am happy
Sooner or later I'll do what Mike Nixon advised. I'll buy some ethyl
acetate, I guess in a pharmacy, and add some drops to tasteless
ethanol to evaluate the effect.