Acetic Acid – Vinegar to you and me…..
Acetic acid is an organic compound with the chemical formula CH3COOH. It’s a colourless liquid that when undiluted is also called glacial acetic acid.
Acetic acid is the main component of vinegar (apart from water; vinegar is roughly 8% acetic acid by volume), and has a distinctive sour taste and pungent smell. Besides its production as household vinegar, it is mainly produced as a precursor to the manufacture of polyvinyl acetate and cellulose acetate – used in wood glue & fabrics and for photographic films respectively. Although it is classified as a weak acid, concentrated acetic acid is corrosive and attacks the skin.
Acetic Acid as Vinegar is known as the food additive E260.
Glacial acetic acid is the name for water-free (anhydrous) acetic acid. Similar to the German name Eisessig (ice-vinegar). The theoretical freezing point of glacial acetic acid is 16.7 degrees Celcius. It got it’s name because it’s freezing point is only slightly below room temperature.
|Glacial Acetic Acid|
Vinegar was known early in civilization as the natural result of air exposure to beer and wine, because acetic acid-producing bacteria are present globally.
Vinegar is typically 4-18% acetic acid by mass. Vinegar is used directly as a condiment, and in the pickling of vegetables and other foods. Table vinegar tends to be more diluted (4% to 8% acetic acid), while commercial food pickling employs solutions that are more concentrated. The amount of acetic acid used as vinegar on a worldwide scale is not large, but is by far the oldest and best-known application.
Concentrated acetic acid is corrosive to skin and must, therefore, be handled with appropriate care, since it can cause skin burns, permanent eye damage, and irritation to the mucous membranes. These burns or blisters may not appear until hours after exposure. Latex gloves offer no protection, so specially resistant gloves, such as those made of nitrile rubber, are worn when handling the compound.
White vinegar is also known as distilled vinegar and is used for medicinal, laboratory, and cleaning purposes, having some anti-bacterial properties, as well as in cooking, baking, meat preservation, and pickling.
As you can see Acetic Acid is available in many strengths and so is suitable for food applications, cleaning applications (using white vinegar for example) to industrial applications and use in laboratories.
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