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Acetic Acid: A Weak Acid of High Importance

Acetic acid (CH3COOH) is mainly used in the chemical industry for the production of VAM (vinyl acetate monomer) and PET (polyethylene terephthalate) but is also used as a preservative and as a food additive (E260). Its quality as well as its content in an aqueous solution can be determined using refractometry.

1 Industrial Areas

Acetic acid (glacial acetic acid, ethanoic acid, methane carboxylic acid) is a weak, colorless, caustic, and flammable acid which has a sour taste and a strong smell. Every year, several million tons of acetic acid are produced (in 2014 about 12.1 million tons; 16.3 million tons estimated for 2018) because it is an important industrial feedstock for the manufacturing of many products .

Acetic acid is converted into derivatives  which can in turn be used as raw material for the production of e.g. vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) or benzene-1,4-discarbocylic acid (purified terephthalic acid or PTA) which is primarily used for the manufacturing of polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

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