Acetone, also known as propanone or dimethyl ketone (chemical formula (CH3)2CO) is a popular solvent and useful chemical for lots of organic chemistry, being the simplest ketone.
Acetone is highly flammable.
Acetone is a clear liquid with very low viscosity that is miscible in water, that boils at 56°C and freezes between −95 to −93 °C. It has a sharp, somewhat sweet, and floral aroma similar to other ketones. It is also miscible in benzene, chloroform, ethanol, diethyl ether and methanol.
Acetone can be found at hardware stores as paint thinners of nail polish remover, either pure or mixed with other organic substances (usually esters).
- 2 Na(CH3COO) → Na2CO3 + (CH3)2CO
- Ca(CH3COO)2 → CaCO3 + (CH3)2CO
Because this reaction occurs at around 400-500°C, temperature above the boiling and autoignition temperature of acetone, it must be performed in an oxygen free chamber (carbon dioxide rich or only atmosphere is sufficient) and because the acetone results as vapors, it must be condensed.
Skin contact with acetone is not recommended, as prolonged exposure can cause defatting of the skin. Acetone's low boiling point of requires work in a ventilated area. While acetone is volatile and while its fumes are not particularly toxic, they can be irritating in large amounts. Acetone however is among the least toxic solvents, and as many studies have shown there are no long term risks in case of repeated exposure.
The main danger of acetone comes from its flammability. Its vapors have a flash point much below room temperature, so air/acetone mixtures can explode or burst into flames easily, even from static shocks.
At 486°C acetone will ignite spontaneously.