Acetic Acid Molecule

acetic  acid molecule

Acetic Acid Molecule-- Space Fill Model

To View the Acetic Acid Molecule in 3D using Jsmol

Acetic acid  is a colourless liquid organic compound with the chemical formula CH3COOH (also written as CH3CO2H or C2H4O2). When undiluted, it is sometimes called glacial acetic acid.Liquid acetic acid is a hydrophilic (polar) protic solvent, similar to ethanol and water.

Use in Vinegar and Industrial Products

Vinegar is no less than 4% acetic acid by volume, making acetic acid the main component of vinegar apart from water. Acetic acid has a distinctive sour taste and pungent smell. In addition to household vinegar, it is mainly produced as a precursor to polyvinyl acetate and cellulose acetate. It is classified as a weak acid since it only partially dissociates in solution, but concentrated acetic acid is corrosive and can attack the skin.

acetic acid molecular structure

Molecular Structure of Acetic Acid


Acetic acid is the second simplest carboxylic acid (after formic acid). It consists of a methyl group attached to a carboxyl group. It is an important chemical reagent and industrial chemical, used primarily in the production of cellulose acetate for photographic film, polyvinyl acetate for wood glue, and synthetic fibres and fabrics. In households, diluted acetic acid is often used in descaling agents. In the food industry, acetic acid is controlled by the food additive code E260 as an acidity regulator and as a condiment. In biochemistry, the acetyl group, derived from acetic acid, is fundamental to all forms of life. When bound to coenzyme A, it is central to the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats.


See Also: What is an Acid? What is a Base? What is pH?