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  • Acetic Anhydride is a clear, colorless liquid with a very pungent, penetrating, vinegar-like odor that combines with water to form acetic acid. It is soluble in ether, chloroform and benzene.
  • Acetic anhydride is the chemical compound with the formula (CH3CO)2O. Commonly abbreviated Ac2O, it is one of the simplest acid anhydrides and is a widely used reagent in organic synthesis.


  • Acetic anhydride is produced by carbonylation of methyl acetate.
  • Acetic anhydride can by prepared by the dehydration of acetic acid at 800C.
  • The reaction between the acid chloride and a salt of acetic acid yields acetic anhydride and a salt.


  • The primary use of acetic anhydride is used in the manufacture of cellulose acetate for films and plastic goods; about 75 percent of the acetic anhydride produced annually in the United States is used for this purpose.
  • Approximately 1.5 percent of the annual acetic anhydride production is used in the synthesis of aspirin.
  • Acetic anhydride other uses include the manufacture of industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, perfumes, plastics, synthetic fibers, explosives, and weed killers.


  • Most acetic anhydride is used captively in the production of cellulose acetate for filter tow and fiber. Eastman capacity includes 1,200 million pounds of material based on synthesis gas from coal, and 600 million pounds based on the ketene process.
  • About 42 percent of acetic anhydride is consumed in cellulose acetate flake used to produce filter tow.
  • Acetic anhydride is a mature product with over 85 percent of production going into cellulose acetate flake, which in turn, serves well-established markets in filament yarn, cigarette filter tow and cellulose ester plastics.

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