| Preferred IUPAC name
| Systematic IUPAC name
| Other names
Formic acid ethyl ester
|Molar mass||74.08 g/mol|
|Odor||Fruity, rum or raspberry-like|
|Melting point||−80 °C (−112 °F; 193 K)|
|Boiling point||54 °C (129 °F; 327 K)|
|10.5 g/100 ml (at 20°C)|
|Solubility||Miscible with acetone, benzene, diethyl ether, ethanol, THF|
|Vapor pressure||200 mmHg (20°C)|
|Safety data sheet||Mathesongas|
|Flash point||-20 °C|
|Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):|
LD50 (Median dose)
| 1850 mg/kg (rat, oral)|
1110 mg/kg (guinea pig, oral)
2075 mg/kg (rabbit, oral)
LC50 (Median concentration)
| 10,000 ppm (cat, 1.5 hr)|
8000 ppm (rat, 4 hr)
| Methyl formate|
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Ammonia reacts with ethyl formate to give formamide:
- HCOOCH2CH3 + NH3 → HCONH2 + CH3CH2OH
Ethyl formate is a colorless volatile liquid, with a fruity rum-like odor, poorly soluble in water but miscible with many organic solvents.
Ethyl formate can be purchased from chemical suppliers and online.
Ethyl formate is best synthesized by the Fischer esterification between conc. formic acid and anh. ethanol, in the presence of a desiccant, such as anhydrous calcium chloride, under reflux. The resulting impure ethyl formate can be purified by adding it in cold water and then extracted using a separatory funnel and dried with anhydrous calcium chloride or sodium sulfate.
The industrial route involves the reaction of ethanol with carbon dioxide in an autoclave at 100-125 °C and 200 for 10-20 hours, in inert conditions, in the presence of gold supported on titanium dioxide catalyst. However this route is not feasible for the amateur chemist.
- Organic extractions
- Make formamide
Ethyl formate is irritant if inhaled. It is also very flammable.
In closed bottles, away from ignition sources
Ethyl formate can be safely disposed of by burning it outside or in an incinerator.
- Tabuchi; Journal of Chemical Physics; vol. 28; (1958); p. 1014,1018