The Acetone is the simplest member of ketones and commercially known as Acetone . It has the chemical formula CH 3 (CO) CH 3 and is found naturally in the environment .

Propanone or acetone is used as a solvent for cellulose ethers, cellulose acetate, cellulose nitrate, and other cellulose esters. Cellulose acetate is spun from the acetone solution. Lacquers, which come from cellulose esters, are used in solution in solvent mixtures containing acetone. Acetylene is safely stored in cylinders under pressure if dissolved in acetone, which is absorbed in inert materials, such as asbestos. It has a low level of toxicity.


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  • 1 Obtaining
  • 2 Physical properties
  • 3 Chemical properties
  • 4 State in the Environment
  • 5 Industrial applications
    • 1 Other applications
  • 6 Medical applications
    • 1 Relationship with metabolism
    • 2 Health risks
  • 7 Sources


It can be obtained by one of the following methods:

  • Fermentation of carbohydratesby microorganisms.
  • Isopropyl alcoholoxidation .
  • CalciumAcetate Dry Distillation (outdated)
  • Synthesis from the acetyleneusing as catalyst the Zinc Oxide .

Physical properties

At room temperature it appears as a colorless liquid, with a characteristic, non-unpleasant odor and burning flavor. It evaporates easily and is flammable, burning with a bright flame. It is soluble in water without producing clouding; it also dissolves in alcohol and ether .

Chemical properties

Propanone is involved in three types of reactions:

  • Nucleophilic addition
  • Oxidation
  • Reduction

Nucleophilic addition: This scheme is followed by the reaction with hydrides (NaBH 4 , LiAlH 4 ) where Nu- = H- and the reaction with organometallic compounds (RMgLi, RLi) where Nu- = R-.

  • Nucleophilic addition of alcohols.
  • Adding primary amines.
  • Hydroxylamine addition.
  • Adding hydrazines.
  • Addition of Hydrocyanic Acid.

State in the Environment

It is found naturally in plants , trees and in emissions of volcanic gases or forest fires, and as a degradation product of body fat. It is also present in automobile exhaust gases, tobacco smoke, and landfills. Industrial processes bring more acetone to the environment than natural processes.

Industrial applications

The most important application of acetone is in the manufacture of Methyl methacrylate (MMA), a market that is experiencing increasing demand due to the increase in the uses of Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), an antifragmentation material alternative to glass in the construction industry.

The demand for Bisphenol-A and polycarbonate resins has also become an important application of acetone, demanded by the automobile and microelectronics industries (manufacture of CD and DVD discs).

Other apps

  • Solvent in the manufacture of smokeless powder.
  • Solvent for industrial enamels and nail paints.
  • In the manufacture of celluloid and artificial silk.
  • In the lacquer, varnish and colorant industry.
  • As solvent-cement of the tubes of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC).
  • Manufacture of plastics, fibers, medicines and other chemical products.

Medical applications

  • Therapeutic properties: it is little used.
  • It was recommended as an anesthetic to replace chloroform.
  • As a vermifuge.
  • Antirheumatic (external use).

Relationship with metabolism

Propanone is formed in the blood when the body uses fat instead of glucose as an energy source . If propanone is formed, this usually indicates that the cells lack sufficient insulin or cannot use the insulin present in the blood to convert glucose to energy. Propanone follows its body course until it reaches the urine . The breath of people who have a large amount of propanone in the body exhales a fruity odor and is sometimes called acetone breath .

Health risks

If a person is exposed to acetone, it passes into the blood and is transported to all organs in the body. If the amount is small, the liver breaks it down to non-harmful compounds that are used to produce energy for the body’s functions.

However, breathing moderate or high levels of acetone for short periods of time can cause irritation of the nose , throat , lungs, and eyes  ; sore head ; dizziness; confusion; acceleration of the pulse; effects on blood; sickness; vomiting loss of consciousness and possibly coma. Also, it can cause shortening of the menstrual cycle in women.

Swallowing very high levels of acetone can cause loss of consciousness and damage to the oral mucosa. Contact with the skin can cause irritation and damage to the skin.

The scent of acetone and respiratory irritation or eye sensation that occurs when exposed to moderate levels of acetone are excellent warning signs that can help avoid breathing harmful levels of acetone.

The health effects of long-term exposures are mainly known from animal studies. Prolonged exposures in animals cause kidney , liver, and nervous system damage, an increased rate of birth defects, and a reduction in the ability of male animals to reproduce.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene, in the document that contains the Occupational Exposure Limits for Chemical Agents adopted for the year 2009 , acetone has an admitted limit value of 500 parts per million or 1210 mg / m 3 .


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