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Acetate 3D-balls.pngAcetate-anion-2D.png

Systematic name  ?
Other names Ethanoate
Molecular formula C2H3O2
Molar mass Molar mass::59.04 g/mol
Appearance  ?
CAS number CAS number::71-50-1
Density and phase Density::? g/ml, ?
Solubility in water  ? g/100 ml (?°C)
Melting point Melting point::?°C
Boiling point Boiling point::?°C
Acidity (pKa)  ?
Basicity (pKb)  ?
Chiral rotation [α]D  ?°
Viscosity  ? cP at ?°C
Molecular shape  ?
Crystal structure  ?
Dipole moment  ? D
MSDS Material safety data sheet
Main hazards  ?
NFPA 704

NFPA 704 svg.png

Flash point  ?°C
R/S statement R: ?
S: ?
RTECS number  ?
Related compounds
Other anions  ?
Other cations  ?
Related ?  ?
Related compounds  ?
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Disclaimer and references

Acetate is an ester or salt that has been derived from acetic acid. Esters of Acetate are known as “Acetates” which tend to be more common and well known. Acetate is an anion, or a negative ion. Acetate is very similar to Acetic Acid, but Acetate has one less hydrogen. The chemical formula of Acetate is C2H3O2, which means that it contains two carbons, three hydrogen, and two oxygen. When Acetate combines with other elements it creates, sodium, cellulose, hydrogen, and hydrogen acetate. There are many varieties of acetate and it greatly impacts the earth through creating new compounds and industries.[1] [2]

Salts and Esters

Acetate is an ester and salt of acetic acid. Acetate is an anion that is part of the carboxylate family. Carboxylate is similar to a salt or ester, but it is of carboxylic acid instead of acetic acid. Since many acetate salts are ionic, they naturally have the ability to easily dissolve in water. Sodium acetate is a common and well known form of acetate due to its involvement in the food and textile industries. Sodium acetate also has buffering abilities and properties. It also has a fairly consistent pH, which creates a reason for why it is so often used in various industries.[3]

Acetate Esters also seem to occur in various forms including carboxylic acid, which is a component of acetic acid. Acetate and carboxylic acid are both esters of acetic acid. Acetic acid is the conjugate base of acetate. Many acetates or acetic acid esters are commonly used in inks and paints. Other acetate esters are used in the textile and food industries as well as in paints. Acetate esters are produced from acetaldehyde, which is an organic chemical compound.[4]

Synthesis and Occurrences

A picture of crystal sodium acetate in a clear bowl

Acetate, C2H3O2 is derived and is an ester of acetic acid, which is also known as vinegar. Acetic acid is known as Hydrogen acetate, which is a very important organic acid. Forms of acetate occur in various chemical substances; since acetate is a chemically created ion, it does not occur naturally in nature. It can however occur as a biosynthesis, which is the most common building block in nature. Instead it tends to combine with other elements to create unique chemical compounds including sodium, cellulose, and vinyl acetate. Acetate usually does not occur by itself, it will most often occur with esters and salts.[5]

There are many different varieties of Acetates including the common hydrogen acetate and sodium acetate. Acetate is a neutral molecule and is a negative anion. It almost always combine with a positive cation in order to create “acetates”. Hydrogen Acetate, which is the compound from which acetate was derived, is commonly used in household vinegar. Hydrogen acetate was synthesized by a German chemist named Hermann Kolbe. Acetate also occurs with salts to create an ionic compound. Sodium acetate is a common household idem along with hydrogen acetate.[6]


Acetate has various uses within different categories of Chemistry. Some categories include, textiles, salts, and the esters of acetic acid. Acetate can be used to make a fabric with the name of cellulose acetate. Cellulose acetates is a fiber forming substance that resembles cotton. The fiber is made from wood pulp along with acetic anhydride. The fiber is processed and shredded. Once cellulose acetate is woven into a fabric, it forms a shiny and luxurious sheen. The fabric resembles satin and has a low moisture absorbency which allows it to dry faster. Although the fabric requires dry cleaning, it is a very inexpensive and affordable special occasion fiber. Acetate was one of the first man made fibers to ever be produced. Cellulose acetate has improved and revolutionized the textile industry. [7]

Ethyl acetate is a form of acetate that is a colorless liquid that tends to have a subtle sweet smell. Ethyl acetate is often used in glues and nail polish removers. It has also been an ingredient in decaffeinated teas and coffee. Like Acetate, it is also an ester, but ethyl acetate is an ester of ethanol and acetic acid. On the negative side of this acetate, it can be a poisonous insect killer. For humans there is little risk of toxicity, but can cause side effect including irritations.[8]

There are many more acetates including vinyl, sodium, and hydrogen acetate. Hydrogen acetate (or acetic acid) is the simplest form of acetate. Acetic acid is also a colorless liquid and has one more hydrogen the acetate. Acetate is derived from acetic acid. It is commonly used in vinegar.

Acetic Acid vs. Acetate

A clear bottle of Acetic acid.

Acetic acid and acetate have many similarities and differences. Acetic acid has an extra hydrogen in its chemical formula. This hydrogen is what makes the molecule an acid and it is the only difference in the molecular structure of an acetate. Acetate's formula is C2H3O2, while Acetic Acid’s is C2H4O2. Acetic acid and Acetate have more similarities than differences in the way that they both produce similar reactions. Acetate is derived from acetic acid which means that both compounds play an important role in each others reactions. Acetic acid is also known as hydrogen acetate.[9]

Acetic Acid has a physical form that could also be known as household vinegar. Acetate known through its esters and acetates which create compounds like cellulose and sodium acetate which are used in the textile and food industries. Acetate has many esters and acetates that are used in a variety of ways and in unique food items. Hydrogen acetate or acetic acid is used to create the salt and vinegar flavoring in varieties of potato chips.[10]


  1. Ferry, JG. Methane from Acetate American Society of Microbiology. Web. 13, January, 2015-last updated.
  2. Acetate Wikipedia. Web. 13, January, 2015-last updated. Unknown Author.
  3. Wasserman, Robin. What is Sodium Acetate Salt? Web. 13, January, 2015-last updated.
  4. Acetate Wikipedia. Web. 13, January, 2015-last updated. Unknown Author.
  5. Acetate Wikipedia. Web. 3,January,2015-last updated. Unknown Author.
  6. Acetic Acid Wikipedia. Web. 13, January, 2015-last updated. Unknown Author.
  7. Kiron, Mazharul. Major End Uses of Acetate Textile Learner.Web. January-1-2015.
  8. Acetate Ester Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. January- 3- 2015.Unknown Author.
  9. What is an Acetate? Wise Geek. Web. 13, January, 2015-last updated. Unknown Author.
  10. What is an Acetic Acid? Wise Geek. Web. 13, January, 2015-last updated. Unknown Author.