Everything You Need To Know About Acetone

Acetone: Did you know that approximately 83% of acetone is produced during the cumene process? Not only that, it is a one-of-a-kind powerful solvent that is also used as a nail paint remover.

With propanone as another name, acetone is super flammable. This organic solvent’s chemical formula is C3H6O. This colorless and volatile organic compound is also found in the human body’s urine and blood. It is miscible in ether, ethanol-water, and has a pungent smell.


Owing to its properties, it is widely used as a solvent and antiseptic. The direct method or indirect method, currently, is produced using propylene. In this article, let’s explore acetone prices, history, features, uses, and a lot more.

History of Acetone:

Let’s have a look at the brief history of acetone, shall we?

During the late Middle Ages, acetone was first produced via the dry distillation of metal acetates such as lead acetates and was used by alchemists. In 1832, chemist Jean-Baptise Dumas from France and chemist Justus von Liebig from Germany determined acetone’s empirical formula. In 1833 chemist Antoine Bussy from France coined the term acetone by adding the suffix “one” and omitting “ic” to the stem of the corresponding acid- acetic acid.

In 1861, Johann Josef Loschmidt from Austria presented acetone’s structure but it did not get any attention. Chemist August Kekule from Germany published the acetone’s modern structural formula in 1865. During World War I, Chaim Weizmann developed acetone’s industrial production process. Popularly known as the Weizmann Process, it is widely used to this day and age.

Key Features of Acetone:

Let’s have a look at the key features of acetone:

  • Chemical Formula: It is C3H6O which represents acetone’s molecular composition. Simply put, it indicates that it consists of three carbon atoms, six hydrogen atoms, and one oxygen atom.
  • Density: It is around 0.784 grams g/cm³ (per cubic centimeter). Density is a physical property that describes the amount of mass in each volume of a substance. This value indicates that acetone is less dense than water, at room temperature which has a density of about 1 g/cm³.
  • Molecular Weight: Approximately, it is 58.08 g/mo (grams per mole). This value represents the mass of one mole of acetone molecules, which is helpful in the conversions and calculations of various chemicals.
  • Melting Point: Approximately, it is -94.7°C (-138.5°F) under standard atmospheric pressure it is a point at which acetone changes from a solid to a liquid state. Relatively, the chemical has a low melting point, at room temperature that makes it a liquid.
  • Boiling Point: It is approximately 56°C (132.8°F) representing the point at which acetone changes from a liquid to a gas state. The relatively lower boiling point means it is volatile and easily evaporated. This is the reason why it is commonly used as a solvent.

Acetone Prices:

In India, starting from ₹ 40 per kg the price range goes up to ₹ 308 per kg depending upon the quality, quantity as well as location.

Where Is It Found?

Naturally, it is found in trees, plants, forest fires, and volcanic gases. Additionally, it also occurs as a by-product of the breakdown of fat in the human body.

  • In small quantities, it is also found in urine and blood. When it comes to diabetic patients, the concentration can even be higher.
  • Its traces can be detected in vehicle exhaust, landfill sites, and tobacco smoke.
  • It is found in many products and formed during the destructive distillation of materials such as cellulose, wood, etc.


Using the cumene process, 83% of acetone is produced in the industry. Under this process, benzene and propylene are alkylated to produce cumene. Using air, it is oxidized to produce phenol and acetone.

Haloform Reaction:

Acetone undergoes a haloform reaction all thanks to the presence of the CH3-C=O group. In the presence of alkali, it reacts with halogen and forms haloform and acid salt.

Common Uses of Acetone:

Let’s have a look at acetone’s common uses:

  • Methyl Methacrylate Precursor: Acetone is the primary key raw material used for producing methyl methacrylate, which finds its usage in manufacturing polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), commonly known as Plexiglas or acrylic glass.
  • Synthetic Fibers & Plastics Solvent: It is widely used as a solvent for various synthetic materials, and fibres such as acrylic & plastics like polystyrene.
  • Preparing Metal: For ensuring better adhesion before coating or painting, often it used as a solvent for cleaning & degreasing metal surfaces.
  • Laboratory: Solvent properties and volatility make acetone ideal for rinsing laboratory equipment and glassware to get rid of chemical residues.
  • Pharmaceutical Industries: It is used as a solvent/reagent for certain drugs and pharmaceutical product synthesis.
  • Defatting Process: It is used in the defatting process, particularly in industries such as food processing to eradicate oils and fats from materials or surfaces.
  • Drying Agent: In a wide range of applications such as paints and varnish production, it is used as a drying agent.
  • Cosmetics: In nail paint removers, it is a common ingredient as it dissolves quickly and removes nail paint from nails.
  • Acne Treatment: It is used in some topical acne treatments all thanks to its properties to remove oils and degrease the skin and prevent acne breakouts.

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Caution Advised:

One crucial thing to keep in mind about acetone is that it is highly flammable. Not just that, if inhaled, it could cause a sore throat or cough. Breathing moderate to high amounts of acetone for a short time can irritate the throat, nose, and lungs. Additionally, it can cause headaches, a faster pulse, dizziness, nausea, passing out, vomiting, and a shorter menstrual cycle in women.

On a different note, acetone and butyl acetate prices differ based on their chemical structure, properties and uses.

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