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  • Ethyl acetate is the organic compound with the formula CH3COOCH2CH3.

  • It is also called as ethyl ethanoate, commonly abbreviated EtOAc or EA.

  • This colorless liquid has a characteristic, not unpleasant smell (similar to pear drops) like certain glues or nail polish removers, in which it is used.

  • Ethyl acetate is a moderately polar solvent that has the advantages of being volatile, relatively non-toxic, and non-hygroscopic.

  • Ethyl acetate can dissolve up to 3% water and has a solubility of 8% in water at room temperature. At elevated temperature its solubility in water is higher. It is unstable in the presence of strong aqueous bases and acids.


  • Ethyl acetate is synthesized via the Fischer esterification reaction from ethanol and acetic acid, typically in the presence of an acid catalyst such as concentrated sulfuric acid.

  • It can also be prepared through Tishchenko reaction, by combining two equivalents of acetaldehyde in the presence of an alkoxide base as catalyst. This way is a commercial method of producing ethyl acetate.

  • Industrially, ethyl acetate can be produced by the catalytic dehydrogenation of ethanol.

  • The main method to manufacture ethyl acetate involves the esterification of ethanol with acetic acid although some is produced by the catalytic condensation of acetaldehyde with alkoxides.

  • Solutia obtains ethyl acetate as a coproduct in production of polyvinyl alcohol, which the company uses captively in the manufacture of polyvinyl butyral.

  • Wyoming bentonite, exchanged with cations of high charge density, is an efficient and selective catalyst for the production of ethyl acetate.


  • Ethyl acetate is primarily used as a solvent. It is commonly used to dissolve the pigments for nail varnishes, and is responsible for the solvent-effect of some nail varnish remover.

  • Industrially it is used to decaffeinate coffee beans and tea leaves. It is also used in paints as an activator or hardener.

  • In the laboratory, mixtures of ethyl acetate and other solvents are commonly used in chromatography. It is also used as a solvent for extractions. Ethylacetate is rarely selected as a reaction solvent because it is prone to hydrolysis.


  • Ethyl acetate exports were increasing at a rate even higher than the domestic demand decline, 6.5 percent. The market, however, was balanced by a decline in imported material, amounting to -6.8 percent annually.

  • Global demand is expected to grow at 3-4%/year because of strong demand for surface coatings and as a replacement for restricted solvents.

  • As with industrial coatings, the decline in its use because of environmental constraints has largely been completed and future growth in the US is estimated to be a healthier 2.5%/year.

  • Around 60% of ethyl acetate in the US is consumed as a solvent in a variety of coating formulations. These coatings are used for wood furniture and fixtures, agricultural, construction and mining equipment, containers and closures, auto refinishing, and maintenance and marine applications.

  • Southeast Asia and China are expected to become the most important regions globally for ethyl acetate production and consumption. The Southeast Asian paints and coatings market is expected to grow at 5-6%/year.

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