Ethyl acetate (systematically, ethyl ethanoate, commonly abbreviated EtOAc or EA) is the organic compound with the formula CH3COOCH2CH3. This colorless liquid has a characteristic sweet smell (similar to pear drops) and is used in glues, nail polish removers, decaffeinating tea and coffee, and cigarettes (see list of additives in cigarettes). Ethyl acetate is the ester of ethanol and acetic acid; it is manufactured on a large scale for use as a solvent. The combined annual production in 1985 of Japan, North America, and Europe was about 400,000 tons. In 2004, an estimated 1.3M tons were produced worldwide.
Ethyl acetate is used primarily as a solvent and diluent, being favored because of its low cost, low toxicity, and agreeable odor. For example, it is commonly used to clean circuit boards and in some nail varnish removers (acetone and acetonitrile are also used). Coffee beans and tea leaves are decaffeinated with this solvent.It is also used in paints as an activator or hardener. Ethyl acetate is present in confectionery, perfumes, and fruits. In perfumes, it evaporates quickly, leaving only the scent of the perfume on the skin.
3 – 1 - Laboratory uses
In the laboratory, mixtures containing ethyl acetate are commonly used in column chromatography and extractions. Ethyl acetate is rarely selected as a reaction solvent because it is prone to hydrolysis and trans esterification.
3 – 2 - Occurrence in wines
Ethyl acetate is the most common ester in wine, being the product of the most common volatile organic acid — acetic acid, and the ethyl alcohol generated during the fermentation. The aroma of ethyl acetate is most vivid in younger wines and contributes towards the general perception of "fruitiness" in the wine.
3 – 3 - Entomological killing agent
In the field of entomology, ethyl acetate is an effective asphyxiant for use in insect collecting and study. In a killing jar charged with ethyl acetate, the vapors will kill the collected (usually adult) insect quickly without destroying it. Because it is not hygroscopic, ethyl acetate also keeps the insect soft enough to allow proper mounting suitable for a collection.
Ethyl acetate is used as a solvent for varnishes, lacquers, and nitrocellulose; as anartificial fruit flavor; in cleaning textiles;and in the manufacture of artificial silk andleather, perfumes, and photographic filmsand plates.
Pharmaceutic aid (flavor); artificial fruit essences; solvent for nitrocellulose, varnishes, lacquers, and aeroplane dopes; manufacture of smokeless powder, artificial leather, photographic films and plates, artificial silk, perfumes; cleaning textiles, etc.