Acetic Acid, Glacial

Acetic Acid, Glacial

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Glacial acetic acid occurs as a crystalline mass or a clear, colorless volatile solution with a pungent odor.

Nonproprietary Names

  • BP: Glacial Acetic Acid
  • JP: Glacial Acetic Acid
  • PhEur: Acetic Acid, Glacial
  • USP: Glacial Acetic Acid

Acidum aceticum glaciale; E260; ethanoic acid; ethylic acid; methane carboxylic acid; vinegar acid.

Chemical Name and CAS Registry Number

  • Ethanolic acid [64-19-7]

Empirical Formula and Molecular Weight

  • C2H4O2 60.05

Functional Category

  • Acidifying agent.

Applications in Pharmaceutical Formulations or Technology

Glacial and diluted acetic acid solutions are widely used as acidifying agents in a variety of pharmaceutical formulations and food preparations. Acetic acid is used in pharmaceutical products as a buffer system when combined with an acetate salt such as sodium acetate. Acetic acid is also claimed to have some antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Typical Properties

  • Acidity/alkalinity pH = 2.4 (1M aqueous solution); pH = 2.9 (0.1M aqueous solution); pH = 3.4 (0.01M aqueous solution).
  • Boiling point 1188C
  • Dissociation constant pKa = 4.76
  • Flash point 398C (closed cup); 578C (open cup).
  • Melting point 178C
  • Refractive index n D20 = 1.3718
  • Solubility Miscible with ethanol, ether, glycerin, water, and other fixed and volatile oils.
  • Specific gravity 1.045

Method of Manufacture

Acetic acid is usually made by one of three routes: acetaldehyde oxidation, involving direct air or oxygen oxidation of liquid acetaldehyde in the presence of manganese acetate, cobalt acetate, or copper acetate; liquid-phase oxidation of butane or naphtha; methanol carbonylation using a variety of techniques.

Related Substances

Acetic acid; artificial vinegar; dilute acetic acid.


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