Ethyl acrylate is an organic compound with the formula CH2CHCO2CH2CH3. It is the ethyl ester of acrylic acid. It is a colorless liquid with a characteristic acrid odor. It is mainly produced for paints, textiles, and non-woven fibers. It is also a reagent in the synthesis of various pharmaceutical intermediates.
Physical and Chemical Properties:
Physical and Chemical Properties:
|Molar mass||100.117 g·mol−1|
|Melting point||−71 °C (−96 °F; 202 K)|
|Boiling point||99.4 °C (210.9 °F; 372.5 K)|
Ethyl acrylate is produced by acid-catalysed esterification of acrylic acid, which in turn is produced by oxidation of propylene. It may also be prepared from acetylene, carbon monoxide and ethanol by a Reppe reaction. Commercial preparations contain a polymerization inhibitor such as hydroquinone, phenothiazine, or hydroquinone ethyl ether.
Reactions and uses:
Ethyl acrylate is used in the production of polymers including resins, plastics, rubber, and denture material.
Ethyl acrylate is a reactant for homologous alkyl acrylates (acrylic esters) by transesterification with higher alcohols through acidic or basic catalysis. In that way speciality acrylates are made accessible, e.g. 2-ethylhexyl acrylate (from 2-ethylhexanol) used for pressure-sensitive adhesives, cyclohexyl acrylate (from cyclohexanol) used for automotive clear lacquers, 2-hydroxyethyl acrylate (from ethylene glycol) which is crosslinkable with disocyanates to form gels used with long-chain acrylates (from C18+ alcohols) as comonomer for comb polymers for reduction of the solidification point of paraffin oils and 2-dimethylaminoethyl acrylate (from dimethylaminoethanol) for the preparation of flocculants for sewage clarification and paper production.
As a reactive monomer, ethyl acrylate is used in homopolymers and copolymers with e.g. ethene, acrylic acid and its salts, amides and esters, methacrylates, acrylonitrile, maleic esters, vinyl acetate, vinyl chloride, vinylidene chloride, styrene, butadiene and unsaturated polyesters. Copolymers of acrylic acid ethyl ester with ethene (EPA/ethylene-ethyl acrylate copolymers) are suitable as adhesives and polymer additives, just like ethene vinyl acetate copolymers. Copolymers with acrylic acid increase the cleaning effect of liquid detergents, copolymers with methacrylic acid are used as gastric juices tablet covers.
The large number of possible comonomer units and their combination in copolymers and terpolymers with ethyl acrylate allows the realization of different properties of the acrylate copolymers in a variety of applications in paints and adhesives, paper, textile and leather auxiliaries together with cosmetic and pharmaceutical products.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer stated, “Overall evaluation, ethyl acrylate is possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B).The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states, “Human studies on occupational exposure to ethyl acrylate… have suggested a relationship between exposure to the chemical(s) and colorectal cancer, but the evidence is conflicting and inconclusive. In a study by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), increased incidences of squamous cell papillomas and carcinomas of the forestomach were observed in rats and mice exposed via gavage (experimentally placing the chemical in the stomach). However, the NTP recently determined that these data were not relevant to human carcinogenicity since humans do not have a forestomach, and removed ethyl acrylate from its list of carcinogens. (Occupational exposure generally involves exposure that occurs regularly, over an extended period of time.)
It is toxic in large doses, with an LD50 (rats, oral) of 1020 mg/kg, and day to day continuous exposure to 5 ppm is considered safe. As of October 2018, the FDA withdrew authorization for its use as a synthetic flavoring substance in food, without regard to its continuing stance that this substance does not pose a risk to public health under the conditions of its intended use.
One favorable safety aspect is that ethyl acrylate has good warning properties; the odor threshold is much lower than any level of health concern. In other words, the bad odor warns people of ethyl acrylate’s presence long before the concentration reaches a level capable of creating a serious health risk. Reports of the exact levels vary somewhat, but, for example, the U.S. E.P.A. reports an odor threshold of 0.0012 parts per million (ppm), but the E.P.A.’s lowest level of health concern, the Acute Exposure Guideline Level-1 (AEGL-1) is 8.3 ppm, which is almost 7000 times the odor threshold.
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