Acetic Anhydride

Acetic Anhydride

Acetic anhydride (Ac2O) is a colorless liquid that smells strongly of acetic acid and is primarily consumed captively by major producers of cellulose acetate. Its primary end uses are for cigarette filter tow, textile fibers, and plastic film and sheet, as well as detergents (TAED), with minor applications in pharmaceuticals (aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen), plastic moldings, and artificial sweeteners.

In the starch industry, acetic anhydride is a common acetylation compound, used for the production of modified starches (E1414, E1420, E1422). Because of its use for the synthesis of heroin by the diacetylation of morphine, acetic anhydride is listed as a US Drug Enforcement Administration List II precursor and is restricted in many other countries. Acetic anhydride is also used as a dehydrating agent in the manufacture of cyclotetramethylenetetranitramine (HMX) and cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine (RDX) explosives. It can also be used as a precursor for herbicides.


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