Methyl acetate (also known as methyl ethanoate) is an organic compound with a molecular formula of C3H6O2. It is commonly used in low toxic solvents products such as glues, paints and nail varnish remover. This product is a clear, colourless liquid that has a typical ester odour. This product is very flammable with a flash point of -10° C and a flammability rating of 3. It is highly miscible with all common organic solvents (alcohols, ketones, glycols, esters) but has only slight miscibility in water. It becomes more soluble in water with elevated temperatures.
The most common method for chemically manufacturing methyl acetate is through the esterification of methanol and acetic acid in the presence of a strong acid.
Storage and distribution
A chemical trader would have a bulk petrochemical storage facility to regulate this product. Storage is normally in a cool, dry and well ventilated facility away from oxidising agents. Methyl acetate should be kept out of direct sunlight, heat and open flames. Solvents such as methyl acetate should be stored in drummed containers, such as isotanks made of stainless steel, aluminium or carbon steel.
A bulk solvent exporter would normally distribute this solvent in bulk vessels or tank trucks. For transportation purposes, methyl acetate is classed as a flammable liquid with a fire hazard rating of 2. A full bulk chemical distributor would export the solvent throughout regions such as the UK, Europe, Africa and America. This product is a packing group 2.
The major use of methyl acetate is as a solvent in fast drying paints such as lacquers. It is also used as a solvent in the manufacturing of cellulose adhesives, perfumes and as a relational solvent in dye production. It is also used in the production of nail polish remover, motor vehicle coatings, cleaning products, cosmetics, furniture coatings and industrial coatings. The main user end markets for this product are the paint, coatings, cosmetic, textiles and motor industries.