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Methyl Ethyl Ketone
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Methyl Ethyl Ketone

CAS: 78-93-3

Methyl ethyl ketone also known as MEK, butanone, 2-butanone, butan-2-one, oxobutane, or methyl acetone is a clear volatile liquid that is soluble in water and has a mild, acetone odour and has the molecular formula C4H8O, CAS: 78-93-3. It has a flash point of -9°C and a specific gravity of 0.81

Methyl Ethyl Ketone
Methyl Ethyl Ketone

Production

The main commercial production route for methyl ethyl ketone is through the dehydrogenation of secondary butanol although newer technology involves the direct oxidation of n-butene in solution, using palladium and cupric chlorides as catalysts.

The Chinese market is the main driver for the demand of MEK.

Uses

The majority demand is from the paints and coatings industry as a low viscosity solution can be obtained without it affecting the film properties of the product.  These lacquers are used in the automotive, electrical goods, and furniture industries.

MEK is also used in the manufacture of plastics and textiles, the manufacture of printing inks, and also in rubber-based industrial cements.  It is also used in the chemical industry as it is a precursor to methyl ethyl ketone peroxide which is itself used as a catalyst to initiate the polymerisation of polyester resins used in fibre-glass reinforced products.