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Ethyl acetate is an organic compound that is a clear liquid. This compound represents the ester of ethanol, known as pure alcohol, and acetic acid. Ethyl acetate has many uses, such as artificial flavours for confectionery, ice cream and cakes, as a solvent in many applications (including decaffeinating tea and coffee) for varnishes and for the manufacture of printing inks and perfumes.
Ethyl acetate is synthesized in industry mainly via the Fischer esterification reaction with ethanol and acetic acid. This mixture converts to the ester in about 65% yield at room temperature: CH3CH2OH + CH3COOH → CH3COOCH2CH3 + H2O. The reaction can be accelerated by acid catalysis and the equilibrium can be shifted to the right by removal of water.
It can also be prepared using the Tishchenko reaction by combining two equivalents of acetaldehyde in the presence of an alkoxide catalyst: 2CH3CHO → CH3COOCH2CH3