What is acetone
Acetone, also known as propanone (or 2-propanone), is an organic compound primarily used as an industrial solvent. Acetone serves as an active ingredient in common household and industrial products such as nail polish removers in the personal care industry and paint thinners in the coatings and construction industry. A colorless, odorless and flammable liquid, acetone is derived from propylene via the cumene process. The United States is the leading global acetone manufacturer, producing approximately 1.56 million tons per year.
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Acetone Industrial Uses and Applications
Approximately one-third of all acetone manufactured in the United States is used as a solvent, primarily for plastics as well as synthetic fibers. When used in nail polish removal products, acetone breaks down the polish structure so it can be wiped away easily with a soft cloth or cotton swab.
The textile industry also uses acetone for processes such as removing gummy materials from silk and eliminating accumulated grease from wool. Acetone’s ability to reduce the viscosity in lacquers makes it a preferred choice for paint thinning applications. Finally, acetone is used in numerous heavy-duty degreasing processes.
Niche acetone uses include as a skin adhesive removal agent by make-up artists. When combined with automatic transmission fluid, acetone serves as a highly reliable and effective penetrating oil. Low-grade acetone versions are often used in laboratory settings as a glassware rinsing agent.
Acetone is a highly flammable liquid that can produce flash fires or even explosions under certain conditions. Acetone liquid exhibits a pungent odor that can irritate the eyes, nose and respiratory system. It is also miscible in water as well as other materials, such as benzene, ethanol and methanol. Acetone features a density of 0.7845 g cm−3 (25 °C), a boiling point of 56.05 °C (132.89 °F; 329.20 K and a melting point of −94.7 °C (−138.5 °F; 178.5 K.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers acetone safe for use as an indirect food additive in food-contact coatings and adhesives. Although classified as an irritant, acetone features low chronic and acute toxicity and is not regarded as a carcinogen. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also removed acetone from its list of toxic chemicals after a thorough review of available toxicity data.
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