Acetic acid, also known as ethanoic acid and methanecarboxylic acid (CH3COOH), is a colorless liquid that has a strong and distinct pungent and sour smell. It is the product of the reaction between methanol and carbon monoxide at 185 ᵒC and 27.5 bar in a fluidized bed reactor with rhodium containing complex catalyst and methyl iodide as promoter.
Acetic acid is a global product. China, the United States, the rest of Asia, and Western Europe include the major market for this product. These regions account for more than 90 percent of the world capacity (virgin acid). Vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) is the largest end use for this product in the four regions and constitutes 30 percent of global consumption. VAM is used in polymer manufacture for adhesives and coating.
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As a solvent in many industrial processes
Acetic acid is also used in manufacture of:
- Vinyl acetate monomer
- Terephthalic acid
- Textile and synthetic fibers
- Inks and dyes
- Cellulose acetate
- Various dye stuffs and perfumes
- Rubbers and plastics
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