What is N-Propyl Acetate?

Normal propyl acetate (also known as n-propyl acetate or 1-propyl acetate) is an organic compound with a molecular formula of C5H10O2.  It is commonly used as a solvent in coatings and printing inks.  This product is a clear, colourless liquid that has a distinguishable acetate odour.  This product is highly flammable with a flash point of 14° 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.

Propyl acetate chemical structure

How is it produced?

The most common method for chemically manufacturing normal propyl acetate is through the esterification of 1-propanol and acetic acid which are heated in the presence of a strong acid.

How is it stored and distributed?

A chemical wholesaler 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.  Normal propyl acetate should be kept out of direct sunlight, heat and open flames.  Solvents such as normal propyl acetate should be stored in drummed containers such as isotanks made of stainless steel, aluminium or carbon steel.

A bulk chemical exporter would normally distribute this solvent in bulk vessels or tank trucks.  For transportation purposes, normal propyl 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.

What is N-Propyl Acetate used for?

The major use of normal propyl acetate is as a solvent in the coatings and printing industries.  It is a good solvent for these industries because it has the ability to thin many other organic compounds.  Normal propyl acetate dissolves a host of resins which make it a suitable solvent for wood lacquers and industrial finishes.  Within the printing industry it is mainly used in flexographic and special screening prints.  It is also used in aerosol sprays, nail care and as a fragrance solvent.  It can also be used as a flavouring additive due to its odour similar to pears.  The main user end markets are the printing, coatings, lacquers, cosmetic and flavouring industries.

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