When it comes to chemicals and compounds, there can sometimes be confusion surrounding the difference between similar-sounding substances. Acetic acid and glacial acetic acid are two substances that many people confuse for one another—but in reality, they’re quite different from each other.
In this blog post, we will take a closer look at both of these interesting compounds, learning how they differ from each other while delving into some interesting facts about their uses and production methods. So if you’ve been wondering what sets these two seemingly similar acids apart, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s dive in!
What is Acetic Acid?
Acetic acid, also known as ethanoic acid, is a naturally occurring organic compound found in nature and produced industrially. It has a sour, vinegar-like smell, and is a liquid at room temperature.
- Acetic acid is probably most recognizable for its use in the manufacture of popular vinegar products that are used for culinary purposes around the world.
- Acetic acid is actually quite versatile, however; it has uses beyond just flavoring food; it can be an effective antimicrobial agent, and an effective industrial solvent, and is used in various biotechnological processes.
- Acetic acid is even used to store electricity in electronic equipment like rechargeable batteries! Acetic acid shows how versatile one common chemical compound can be.
What is Glacial Acetic Acid?
- Glacial Acetic Acid, which is sometimes referred to as Glacial Acetic Anhydride, is a colorless liquid that is derived from acetic acid. Glacial Acetic Acid has a strong and pungent aroma that can easily be detected in the air at room temperature.
- Glacial Acetic Acid is often used as an industrial solvent or cleaning agent as it helps dissolve such compounds as carbonates, alkalis, metal salts, and organic materials.
- Additionally, Glacial Acetic Acid can also be found in dermatology products as an astringent due to its ability to help cleanse the skin without being too harsh. Glacial Acetic Acid is an extremely versatile chemical with multiple potential uses in industrial and everyday applications.
Difference Between Acetic Acid and Glacial Acetic Acid
Acetic acid and glacial acetic acid may sound similar, but they are two very distinct substances.
- Acetic acid is a carboxylic acid containing hydrogen and two oxygen atoms, while glacial acetic acid has all of the same properties as acetic acid, plus an additional level of concentration.
- Acetic acid can be found in its undiluted form or in dilute solutions known as vinegar, which typically contain 5 to 20 percent acetic acid.
- Glacial Acetic Acid is much more potent, featuring concentrations of 99.6% purity Acetate salts, making it nearly free of water content.
All in all, Acetic acid is significantly less concentrated than glacial acetic acid, making it better suited for domestic usages like food-preparation activities or cleaning purposes.
Acetic acid is a colorless liquid with a pungent odor. Glacial acetic acid is an azeotropic mixture of acetic acid and water that has a higher boiling point and cannot be separated by distillation. Both acetic acids are used in the production of vinegar, but glacial acetic acid is also used in chemical manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.