Acetic Acid By: Tiana and Paige

Formula: CH3COOH
Molar Mass: 60.05g/mol
Melting Point: 16.5° C (61.6° F)
Boiling Point: 118.1° C (244.5° F)

Background Information:


Acetic Acid is otherwise known as Ethanoic Acid, Methanecarboxylic acid, Acetyl hydroxide, or Hydrogen acetate .It is the second simplest carboxylic acid, with formic acid coming in at number one. It is a clear liquid when it is in a natural state and a liquid at room temperature. This substance is very corrosive when it is in a pure form. It is an important part of metabolic functions and is found in the human body as well as in some fruit juices. However, when the water is taken out through dry distillation,acetic acid takes on a solid form known as "Glacial Acetic Acid". Then, it becomes a white ice-like substance. When it is diluted with various other elements, it becomes a food preservative as well as vinegar. Most of us have tasted vinegar before and knows that it has a very strong, sour taste. That would be the acetic acid that gives it that quality. Acetic acid melts at 16.5° C and boils at 118.1° C. Acetic acid is named from the Latin word, acetum, or vinegar.



While the discovery of Acetic Acid is unknown because it has been used in civilizations for thousands of years, it was detected in numerous ways. During the production of wine, the fruit juices used in the process will turn into Acetic Acid if fermented too long. However, in the 700s, Jabir ibn Hayyan Geber, an Arab alchemist, extracted and isolated acetic acid concentrate by distilling vinegar. In the 1700s, Georg Ernst Stahl successfully isolated acetic acid in a it's purest form, which is highly corrosive and has the ability to burn the skin.

Chemical Reactions:

When used as a reagent and industrial chemical it has the ability to form cellulose acetate, which creates photograph films and polyethylene terephthalate, which is used in plastic bottles. It creates water and metal ethanoate when it is formed with an alkali. When formed with carbonates it creates water and carbon dioxide.
Acetic acid can be quite stable with normal conditions, but when exposed to extreme heat and sunlight, instability can occur. Also, when it is mixed with water, heat and toxic vapors are produced from the solution. If acetic acid is frozen the particles begin to contract which could crack the container which holds it.


In the industrial world, acetic acid is man-made through the oxidation of ethyl alcohol. It can also be made through hydration of acetylene to acetaldehyde, which is then oxidized to create acetic acid.However the most common way to produce this corrosive material is by methanol carbonylation. This is the process of reacting methanol and carbon monoxide. The equation looks like this:CH3OH + CO → CH3COOHBiologically speaking, it is produced through the fermentation of acetum bacteria.Even though the first method of production occurred by diluting substances, it can also be obtained from the distillation of wood, and oxidation processes using acetylene, water, and air.


While Acetic Acid is covalently bonded, it has multiple types of bonds in the structure. There are single bonds that connect the carbon to the rest of the formula and to the hydroxide within the structure. Also, there is a double bond that holds the oxygen onto the main carbon.


Lowers the body's cholesterol level. It is scientifically proven with studies that with 50ml or more per day of acetic acid through vinegar lowers cholesterol.
White Vinegar is used as a cleaning agent .With the 4 to 8% of acetic acid it cleans with its corrosive properties without destroying the product being cleaned.
Vinyl acetate is created with ethylene, acetic acid, and oxygen. When they react in the presence of a platinum group catalyst, it forms vinyl acetate.
Glacial acetic acid is added to food to maintain a pH level of 5.8 or below to help keep it's properties.
Acetic acid reacts with ketenes and alcohols to create Esters. This reaction must happen in the presence of metal sulfides.
Along with lactic, malic, and citric, acetic acid is used as a food regulator. The regulators must have a weak acid in the free acid form.
Crystallized Acetic Acid is formed from acetic anhydride and acetic acid to purify diacerein.
Glacial acetic acid is able to burn the skin with a high tendency. Because of this, the medical field uses acetic acid as a wart remover.
Treatment for various diseases- Some medical problems that can be aided with acetic acid are Huntington's disease and dementia. Also, it helps to cure cancer by shutting down the glycolosis process. This is possible because cancer cells thrive off the glycolosis cells inside the body.

3-D model

Quick Reference Facts


Molar Mass
Boiling Point
118.1° C, 244.5° F
Melting Point

16.5° C, 61.6° F

1.049g cm-3
Percent Composition by Mass
40.00% C, 6.71% H, 53.29% O
Percent Composition by Number

25% Carbon 50% Hydrogen 25% Oxygen

Empirical Formula

Molecular Formula


For more information on Acetic acid, visit these websites-

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