What is Acetone? Uses and chemical properties


Like the vast majority of organic chemicals, acetone is naturally present in a significant number of products such as fruits, vegetables and many dairy products. In addition, it is often manufactured on a large scale, as it is used in many sectors of industry. 

Although acetone is a highly flammable substance and can cause irritation when it comes into contact with both mucous membranes and skin, the fact is that it is a highly functional product, so it can be used in a wide variety of activities in a completely safe way for health, if the appropriate precautions are taken.

Acetone, also called propanone, is an organic substance easy to recognize thanks to its characteristic odor, in addition to its formula, which is CH3 (CO) CH3, and it is not very toxic since it is found in minimal concentrations in human bodies themselves. These are some of its most outstanding properties:

Chemical properties of Acetone

Among the main chemical properties of acetone is its high level of miscibility in water, ethanol, ether and methanol. It is also colorless at room temperature, and it is very sensitive to heat, so it tends to evaporate quickly when it is in contact with air or sunlight, if not stored properly. 

Another very striking aspect of acetone is that it is a very effective solvent for diluting a wide variety of dense chemicals. On the other hand, it is also highly volatile, so it should be kept away from fire and high temperatures to reduce the potential for hazards. 

Unlike other organic compounds, acetone is completely stable in the environment. However, its chemical properties change markedly when mixed with water, which can cause sudden explosions when stored in airtight containers for a long time due to the accumulation of gases.

Frequent uses of Acetone

Nowadays, acetone is one of the organic substances most used by human beings due to its multiple industrial and domestic applications, since it provides a wide range of benefits when carrying out numerous activities. These are some of its main uses:

Plastics manufacturing 

Undoubtedly one of the most frequent uses of this substance of organic origin is the manufacture of plastics, as it is able to dissolve and synthesize its raw material to create a refined product. It is thus possible to create specific chemical structures depending on the needs of the market.

It is important to mention that, by dissolving almost any polymer in acetone, it is possible to manipulate its properties to achieve the desired texture, strength and color. However, these types of industrial processes should be carried out in the open air to avoid both the accumulation of vapors and direct contact with high temperatures.

Cosmetic solvent

This chemical substance is also commonly used as a solvent for many cosmetic products such as nail polish or nail paint, as it is able to dilute them quickly to remove all traces present on the nail surface as efficiently as possible.

In addition, acetone is a fairly common organic compound in the manufacture of many cosmetics such as hair care treatments and facial cleansing products, as it tends to evaporate quickly, and it therefore reduces skin dryness significantly by restoring moisture levels. 

Likewise, acetone is also increasingly used in certain cosmetic treatments applied for the elimination of acne and other facial impurities, such as chemical peeling, which helps to remove all the fat present in the skin of the face through a specialized exfoliation process. 

Domestic Uses 

Acetone is a very effective cleaner, as it is able to completely remove grease and microorganisms found on many surfaces without altering their colour or generating stains. In addition, it is a very practical and easy to apply product, as it evaporates in a matter of seconds. 

On the other hand, acetone is also frequently used as a household solvent, as it is capable of significantly reducing the viscosity of numerous products such as paint, varnish and numerous resins, which makes it easier to apply, thus ensuring the best possible results. Due to its high solvent power, it must be applied with care on painted surfaces, as it could remove the paint and damage the surface.

Fabric cleaner 

Acetone is commonly used in the textile industry to remove all stains, oils, gums and other impurities present in different types of fabrics such as wool, cotton, polyester and silk, to ensure a much more pleasant and striking appearance, as they do not discolour the fabric or generate stains.

People often use household acetone to remove stains on clothing that cannot be removed by the application of soap or regular detergents, as it can remove all the dirt without damaging the fibres of the fabric or discolouring the clothes.

Other uses of acetone 

Generally, acetone is used in a wide variety of tasks. For instance, it is used as a glue remover on all kinds of surfaces, as its chemical formula can be decomposed, or as a dish dryer, since it offers the possibility to remove all water and moisture marks present in various materials. 

In addition, this chemical is commonly used in the removal of both plastic parts and permanent markers, so it is essential in the production of a wide variety of products.