Is Acetic Anhydride Flammable? Discover the Surprising Truth!

Acetic anhydride is a chemical compound that is commonly used in various industries, including pharmaceuticals, plastics, and textiles. It is an organic compound with the formula (CH3CO)2O. This compound is best known for its use as an acetylating agent, meaning that it is used to add an acetyl group to various chemicals and molecules.

One of the important properties of acetic anhydride that is often questioned is its flammability. It is essential to understand the flammability characteristics of any chemical compound to ensure safe handling and storage.

Is acetic anhydride flammable?

Yes, acetic anhydride is flammable. It is classified as a flammable liquid. The flash point of acetic anhydride is approximately 49°F (9.4°C), which means that it can ignite when exposed to an open flame or spark at that temperature or above.

Flammable Properties of Acetic Anhydride

Acetic anhydride possesses several flammable properties, which include:

  • Low flash point: The flash point is the lowest temperature at which a liquid produces sufficient vapor to ignite. Acetic anhydride’s flash point is relatively low, which makes it highly flammable.
  • Volatile nature: Acetic anhydride evaporates quickly at room temperature, producing flammable vapors. These vapors can easily ignite if exposed to an ignition source.
  • Reactivity with air: Acetic anhydride reacts vigorously with air, especially in the presence of moisture. This reaction can lead to the release of highly flammable gases.
Is Acetic Anhydride Flammable? Discover the Surprising Truth!


Safe Handling and Storage

Given its flammable nature, it is important to handle and store acetic anhydride with caution. Here are some safety measures to consider:

  • Storage: Acetic anhydride should be stored in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area. It must be kept away from ignition sources, such as open flames, sparks, and heat.
  • Containers: Store acetic anhydride in approved containers that are specifically designed for flammable liquids. These containers should be tightly sealed to prevent the release of vapors.
  • Protection: When handling acetic anhydride, it is crucial to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including safety goggles, gloves, and a lab coat. These precautions can minimize the risk of contact with the compound and protect against potential fires.
  • Ventilation: Work with acetic anhydride in a well-ventilated area or under a fume hood to ensure the proper dissipation of flammable vapors.
  • Fire safety: In case of a fire involving acetic anhydride, use appropriate fire extinguishing methods such as carbon dioxide (CO2) or dry chemical extinguishers.
Is Acetic Anhydride Flammable? Discover the Surprising Truth!


Frequently Asked Questions On Is Acetic Anhydride Flammable? Discover The Surprising Truth!

Is Acetic Anhydride Flammable?

Yes, acetic anhydride is highly flammable and should be handled with caution.

Can Acetic Anhydride Cause Burns?

Yes, acetic anhydride can cause severe burns if it comes into contact with the skin.

Is Acetic Anhydride Toxic?

Yes, acetic anhydride is toxic and can cause harm if inhaled, ingested, or in contact with the skin or eyes.

What Safety Precautions Should I Take When Working With Acetic Anhydride?

When working with acetic anhydride, it is important to wear protective gloves, goggles, and clothing. Ensure good ventilation and avoid open flames or sparks.


Acetic anhydride is indeed flammable, with a relatively low flash point and the ability to produce flammable vapors. It is crucial to handle and store this compound with care to prevent accidents and ensure a safe working environment.

By following the recommended safety measures, such as proper storage, wearing PPE, and working in a well-ventilated area, the risks associated with acetic anhydride’s flammability can be minimized.

Updated: January 2, 2024 — 6:45 am