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Theophrastus

Acetic acid synthesis/ distillation

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I've currently been thinking of performing various reactions, using acetic acid to precipate several of the reaction products turning them to acetates. As per, doing so, requires one to actually have acetic acid on hand, so my question is, how can one produce acetic acid? I understand that vinegar is about 10% acetic acid (well, the concentration may vary...), so might there be any way to distill this from vinegar, based upon its othe components (ie water, spices, etc.)

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most of the reactions you want to do will work in a 10% solution. If you buy distilled, white vinegar (the cheap stuff) it's essentially just water and acetic acid. The pure liquid is a bit more hazardous and a lot more smelly.

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Thank you Hermanntrude, your advice was most appreciated. I myself, have a rather dirty wine vinegar in my possession, however, I'm sure this can easily be ammended. Cheers.

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The general over the counter way of producing pure glacial acetic acid is to react baking soda with vinegar and evaporate to yeild Sodium acetate. React the sodium acetate with sulfuric acid and distill it to yeild pure glacial acetic acid.

 

I have performed this manytimes since the photography shops closed down around here and there are a few thing to take note about this.

 

First thing is after you boil away your solution and get sodium acetate recrystalize it atlest once or else you will have to throw away the first few ML of your distillate because it will be contaminated with some other organics that where present in the vinegar and you will see a scum floating on the surface after distilling.

 

Second note is something that some one just informed me about because I had a minor accident with it. Make sure to not use excess sodium bicarbonate because when you add your sulfuric acid the left over sodium bicarbonate will foam alot and in my case spray out the top of the flask and a little got on my face and hands which is something you DO NOT want.

 

All that being said it is a very easy procedure and pretty safe but just thought I would let you know a few things I had to learn along the way. It is time consuming but thats about the only obstical I can really think of.

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