Overview acid-resistance and hence aluminium tanks are used as

Overview

Brief Overview

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Acetic acid, also known as ethanoic acid, has a
molecular formula CH3COOH. It is a weak monoprotic acid which is
able to lose a proton from its acid functional group (-COOH) readily and
produce a conjugate base, acetate anion. Acetic acid is also a polar protic
solvent as it dissolves readily and is miscible in other polar solvents such as
water. However, its polar nature makes it insoluble and immiscible in non-polar
solvents such as octane. Using acetic acid as a starting reagent, it readily
forms other organic reagents such as acetyl chloride and ethanol through
substitution and reduction reactions respectively. Acetic acid can also corrode
metals such as iron, magnesium and zinc, forming hydrogen gas and metal
acetates. But since aluminium forms a protective layer of aluminium oxide on
its surface, it is acid-resistance and hence aluminium tanks are used as an
option to transport acetic acid. Alternatively, high-density polyethylene
(HDPE) drums can also be used to transport acetic acids as due to their
resistivity.

Manufacturing
Process

Carbonylation
of Methanol

Acetic
acid is manufactured via carbonylation of methanol. Metal carbonyl is added to
methanol via rhodium-catalyzed Monsanto process or iridium-catalyzed Cativa
process. However, with the introduction of iridium-catalyzed Cativa process,
Monsanto process became obsolete. Due to the economic and environmental
friendliness, Cativa process soon became the main process used to manufacture
acetic acid.

Acetaldehyde
Oxidation

Acetic
acid is also manufactured via acetaldehyde oxidation, where oxidizing butane
and hydrating ethylene via Wacker process obtain acetaldehyde. This crude
acetaldehyde is purified by extractive distillation, followed by fractional
distillation. This acetaldehyde will further oxidize to form acetic acid.

Oxidative
Fermentation and Anaerobic Fermentation

Acetic
acid can also be manufactured via oxidative fermentation using acetic acid
bacteria Acetobacter in alcoholic content, and via anaerobic fermentation using
anaerobic bacteria Acetobacterium. The Acetobacter method remains more cost-effective
to produce acetic acid.

Food
Industry

In the
food industry, acetic acid is used as an acidity regulator and as a condiment. Acetic
acid is also used as the main ingredient for vinegar production. In the food
industry, acetic acid is also used as an antimicrobial and additives.

Intermediate
Chemicals

Acetic
acid is used as a polar protic organic solvent for recrystallization and the
production of purified terephthalic acid (PTA). This serves as a precursor and
is in turn used to manufacture polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is used
to make clothing and plastics.

Other
Applications

Acetic
acid helps in the breaking down of starches and sugars in table sugar, as well
as sugar in milk. It is also used to manufacture vinyl acetate monomer, acetic
anhydride and acetate ester, as well as purified terephthalic acid. In
addition, Acetic acids are widely used for textile processing and
printing. Acetic acids are used to synthesize acetic anhydride that serves
as an acetylation agent and its major application is for cellulose
acetate.