Acetone is the active ingredient in nail polish remover and is ubiquitous in chemistry laboratories. Most laboratories order acetone in bulk not only for cleaning glassware, but also for use as a chemical reagent. One method for producing acetone is shown below
Figure 1. Creating acetone using benzene and propene as reactants.
Acetone can also be produced from the decarboxylation of acetoacetic acid. At temperatures above 0°C, acetoacetic acid spontaneously decomposes as shown in the following reaction.
Figure 2. Creating acetone through decarboxylation of acetoacetic acid.
To isolate the products of these reactions, different techniques for separation and purification were utilized. The boiling points of some of these chemicals along with other common reagents are shown in the following table.
Table 1. A compilation of the boiling points of common chemicals in a laboratory.
CompoundBoiling Point (°C)
Acetoacetic acid238
Formic acid101
When distilling a mixture of benzene, acetone, phenol, and naphthalene, which compound would be distilled first?
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