Ester is the chemical term for an organic compound produced by the reaction of a carboxylic acid and an alcohol. The alcohols and the acids may be of widely different nature conferring very different qualities to the products. These may be good allpurpose organic solvents such as ethylacetate and other short chain alcohol derivatives, and also, which is a more recent development, esters of longer chain oils, such as coconut-oil esters good for degreasing purposes. The alcohols may be mono- or polyhydric enhancing the water solubility of these esters.
Esters are widely used in many industries as solvents, plasticizers, extractants and chemical intermediates in the production of polymers. Volatile esters such as ethyl acetate, n-butyl acetate, n-propyl acetate and n-amyl acetate are commonly found in lacquer coatings and solvents, nail polishes and removers, vinyl coatings, adhesives. Besides those already mentioned, common short chain esters are for example isobutyl acetate, n-butyl acetate, vinyl acetate, ethyl acrylate, diethyl maleate, ethyl silicate.
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