The key difference between acetone and acetate is that acetone is a ketone whereas acetate is an anion derived from acetic acid.
Both acetone and acetate are studied under organic chemistry because they are organic compounds or derivatives of organic compounds. Acetone is the simplest of the ketone family while acetate is the anion formed from acetic acid.
What is Acetone?
Acetone is a ketone which has the chemical formula (CH3)2CO. It occurs as a colourless, flammable and volatile liquid at room temperature. It is the simplest, thus, the smallest ketone in the ketone family. Furthermore, it is an organic solvent we use in both household and industrial needs. Also, it is a common ingredient in nail polish removers, varnish, glues, rubber cement, etc.
The current method of acetone production is mainly from propylene. We call this method the cumene process. It involves benzene reacting with propylene (alkylation of benzene), giving cumene, which is an organic compound based on an aromatic hydrocarbon with an aliphatic substitution. Through the oxidation of cumene, we can get phenol and acetone. The reaction is as follows:
The major application of acetone is as a solvent. It is a good solvent for plastics and synthetic fibres. Moreover, acetone is useful as a raw material for the synthesis of methyl methacrylate. In addition, it is useful as a food additive as well.
What is Acetate?
Acetate is the anion derived from acetic acid. The chemical formula of the anion is CH3COO-. We can abbreviate it as OAc. For example, we can abbreviate sodium acetate as NaOAc. If the anion combines with a hydrogen cation, then it forms acetic acid (a carboxylic acid). If the acetate ion combines with an alkyl group, it forms an ester.
Mostly, we use the term acetate to name salts of acetic acid. These salts contain a combination of acetic acid with an alkaline, earthy, metallic or nonmetallic and another base. Moreover, this term is common in biology as the main compound used by living organisms, ‘acetyl CoA’.
What is the Difference Between Acetone and Acetate?
Acetone is a ketone with the chemical formula (CH3)2CO while acetate is an anion. The key difference between acetone and acetate is that acetone is ketone whereas acetate is an anion we derive from acetic acid. Acetone is a neutral compound whereas acetate has – 1 charge.
Furthermore, we can produce acetone artificially through the cumene process, but biologically, it forms in our body during the fat break down into ketone bodies. Whereas, acetate forms from the removal of a proton from acetic acid.
The below info-graphic summarizes the difference between acetone and acetate in tabular form.
Summary – Acetone vs Acetate
Acetone is an organic compound while acetate is anion derived from acetic acid (a carboxylic acid). The key difference between acetone and acetate is that acetone is ketone whereas acetate is an anion derived from acetic acid.
1. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. “Acetate Definition in Chemistry.” ThoughtCo, May. 23, 2019, Available here.