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27 Uses of Esterification

Do you remember learning about Esterification in organic chemistry? Understanding some of the applications of Esterification in daily life deepens our understanding of the compounds better. Esterification is the production of esters through heating alcohol with acids. An ester is an organic compound that contains a hydrogen compound which is replaced by a hydrocarbon compound. It forms bonds between an alcohol and a carboxylic group that becomes possible after the elimination of water.


1. Flavoring agent

Esters such as the Ethyl Pentanoate are added in foods to improve the smell and flavor of soft drinks, chewing gums, candies as well as processed foods and enhance their appearance. This explains why foods such as candy have sweet scents and nice flavors when one is consuming them.

2. In school laboratories for learning

Have you ever done a lab experiment with your tutor and the result was a sweet-smelling compound? Well, that is how we came to learn about the formation, rather the determination of esters. To be particular, esters are used as tests for carboxylic acid and alcohols.

3. Refrigerant

Esters such as dimethyl ether have been widely used in many refrigerants due to their low boiling points as well as low freezing points.

4. Food and drugs preservatives

Esters make the living conditions unbearable for microorganisms like molds and yeast to not only survive but also grow. This quality makes them good food and drugs preservatives.

5. Cosmetic and perfume

Have you ever realized that perfumes may differ in types and manufacturing companies, but they always have a sweet smell that attracts an individual to use it? These are the beauty of esters through their fruitful smell that enhances their allure.

6.  Organic solvents

Esters like ethyl ethanoate are have been widely used as solvents for organic compounds. Most esters have carbon compounds in them; thereby they have the ability to dissolve other liquids.

7. Production of soaps and detergents

Some esters contain fats and oils that are an important additive in the soap making process. Most detergents are capable of removing impurities and dirt hence used for cleaning purposes.

8. Production of synthetic fabrics

Have you ever wondered why synthetic fabrics are often long-lasting? Well, it is because of the esters used in making them such as the polyesters. The polyesters are known for their unreactive as well as tensile nature that make them suitable for making synthetic fabrics.

9. Insulator

Polyester is used for making insulators because of their hydrophobic nature (ability to repel water), durability as well as resistance to a variety of chemicals.

10. Painting cars

Methyl formate has a high vapor pressure and is also soluble in water. It also has a miscibility characteristics in most organic compounds, and this makes it suitable for a good solvent in quick drying finishes as well as the application of sprays.

11. Surgery

An ester such as the Diethyl ether is used as an additive in anesthesia that is used for numbing the body parts for surgical procedures.

12. DNA and RNA compounds

Phosphoresces form the backbone of DNA molecules. Here, it creates a connection between 3 carbon atoms from one molecule of sugar to a 5-carbon atom from another sugar molecule.

13. Insect communication

Some esters play an important role in insect communication. Esters such as Isoamyl acetate, aids in alarming as well as alerting the honeybee of anything. The ester (Z)-6-dodecane-4-olide, is used by the black-tailed deer as a social scent. The termites use lactones for defense purposes since it is poisonous.

14. Skin exfoliation

Esters are used for skin exfoliation and cosmetic formulation since they have high oxidative stability and are similar to the natural oils that are manufactured by the human skin.

15. Making explosives

Nitrate esters, such as nitroglycerin, are used in explosive materials because of its explosive properties.

16. Making wine

Ethyl acetate occurs naturally in wine, and this explains its sweet smell in wine

17. Repair and growth of the body tissues

Similar to vitamin, Ascorbyl palmitates has the characteristic which allows it to dissolve in water that is found in the body and stores itself in the cell walls making it reachable at the time when the body needs it. When needed, it helps in repairing the worn-out tissues of the body as well as prevent scurvy.

18. Used in manufacturing a wide range of products

Due to their ability to dissolve most liquids, esters are used in the manufacture of lotions meant for sunburns, removers of nail polish, glues and lastly plasticizers.

19. Maintenance of vehicle engines

Most car mechanics and owners add tert-Butyl acetate to gasoline so that it can prevent knocking of the engine.

20. Manufacture of nitrocellulose lacquers

Due to its ability to dissolve in nitrocellulose, Butyl acetate is used to manufacture nitrocellulose lacquers that are presently used to coat the back of cards as well as to hold staples together in many offices.

21. Manufacture of some drugs

Butyl acetate is used in the manufacture of Penicillin-G, which is a common compound in most antibiotics.

22. Diluting Agent

Butyl acetate is used in diluting the dyes that are normally used for marking fruits due to its low solubility in water.

23. Agricultural fumigant

Ethyl acetate has been used widely in large agricultural farms to fumigate storages of crops to aid in preventing the destruction of crops by pests.

24. Liquid Bandages

Pentyl ethanoate is used as an inactive component of liquid bandages that are used to treat and care for wounds, thereby preventing infections of these wounds.

25. Manufacture of another formic acid

Ethyl acetate aids in manufacturing formic acid derivatives which when combined with the acetic acids, the formic acids are used to manufacture rubber.

26. Making clothing

Have you ever wondered why clothing like leather jackets or wool clothing are usually warm? Well, it is because of the materials they are made of. Most of the fleece clothing is made from recycled polyesters.

27. Combustions studies

In many education centers majoring on fire and extinguishing procedures, the ester Methyl butyrate is used for illustration as a surrogate fuel in the cases of larger fatty acid methyl that are commonly found in biodiesel.

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