Class 10 Chemistry Carbon and Its Compounds Properties of Ethanoic Acid

Properties of Ethanoic Acid

  • Ethanoic acid commonly known as acetic acid belongs to a group of carboxylic acids.
  • Vinegar used in our day to day life is a 5-8% solution of acetic acid in water. It is extensively used as a preservative in pickles.

Fig. Bottle of vinegar

  • Pure ethanoic acid has a melting point of 290 K due to which it often freezes in cold climates giving rise to its name as glacial acetic acid.
  • Esterification reaction:

Esters are produced as a result of the reaction of an acid such as ethanoic acid and an alcohol such as ethanol in the presence of an acid catalyst.


Esters are sweet-smelling substances and used for various purposes like in perfumes and also used as flavouring agents.

Reaction of ester with sodium hydroxide, results in the conversion of ester to alcohol and sodium salt of carboxylic acid.

The above reaction is known as saponification and is extensively used in the preparation of soap.




Fig. Perfume bottle (right) and adding flavouring agents to food items (left)

  • Reaction with a base

Ethanoic acid reacts with base leading to the production of salt and water. For example, it reacts with sodium hydroxide to give salt of sodium ethanoate or commercially known as sodium acetate and water. The reaction is as follows:

  • Reaction with carbonates and hydrogen carbonates:

Carbonates are salt of carbonic acid possessing carbonate ion, CO2−3. On the other hand Hydrogen carbonates are formed when CO2 reacts with water.

Ethanoic acid reacts with carbonates and hydrogen carbonates leading to the production of salt, carbon dioxide and water. The salt produced is commonly known as sodium acetate.



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