Acetone, CAS 67-64-1 is the organic liquid compound with the formula (CH3)2CO. It is a colorless, volatile, flammable liquid, and is the simplest ketone. About one third of the world’s acetone is used as a solvent, and a quarter is consumed as acetone cyanohydrin, a precursor to methyl methacrylate.

Acetone is miscible with water and serves as an important solvent, particularly for laboratory cleaning purposes. About 6.7 million tons were produced worldwide in 2010, mainly for use as a solvent and production of methyl methacrylate and bisphenol A.

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Industrial Uses

  • Adhesives and sealant chemicals
  • Agricultural chemicals (non-pesticidal)
  • Intermediates
  • Ion exchange agents
  • Laboratory chemicals
  • Processing aids, not otherwise listed
  • Processing aids, specific to petroleum production
  • Solvents (for cleaning or degreasing)
  • Solvents (which become part of product formulation or mixture)
  • Viscosity adjustors
  • Adhesives and Sealants
  • Fabric, Textile, and Leather Products not covered elsewhere
  • Paints and Coatings
  • Personal Care Products
  • Plastic and Rubber Products not covered elsewhere
  • Toys, Playground, and Sporting Equipment


Nearly 90% of acetone production is via cumene. In this process, acetone is coproduced with phenol. The main production process involves the reaction of propylene and benzene in the presence of phosphoric acid-based or zeolite catalysts. Cumene is oxidized in the liquid phase to cumene hydroperoxide. It is then cleaved in the presence of sulfuric acid to phenol and acetone. Approximately 0.62 tons of acetone is produced with each ton of phenol.

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