|Molar mass||60.05 g·mol−1|
|Melting point||−100 °C (−148 °F; 173 K)|
|Boiling point||32 °C (90 °F; 305 K)|
|EU classification||Highly flammable (F+); Harmful (Xn)|
Except where noted otherwise, data is given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)
|what is: / ?)(|
Methyl formate, also called methyl methanoate, is the methyl ester of formic acid. The simplest example of an ester, it is a colorless liquid with an ethereal odour, high vapor pressure, and low surface tension. It is a precursor to many other compounds of commercial interest.
- CH3OH + CO → HCO2CH3
This process, practiced commercially by BASF among other companies gives 96% selectivity toward methyl formate. The catalyst for this process is sensitive to water, which can be present in the carbon monoxide feedstock, which is commonly derived from synthesis gas. Very dry carbon monoxide is, therefore, essential.
Because of its high vapor pressure, it is used for quick-drying finishes and as a blowing agent, patented by Foam Supplies, Inc. under the Ecomate trade name, for a wide range of polyurethane foam applications and as a replacement for CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs. Methyl formate has zero ozone depletion potential, zero global warming potential and zero volatile organic compounds. It is also used as an insecticide.
A historical use of methyl formate, which sometimes brings it attention, was in refrigeration. Before the introduction of less-toxic refrigerants, methyl formate was used as an alternative to sulfur dioxide in domestic refrigerators, such as some models of the famous GE Monitor Top.
- Werner Reutemann and Heinz Kieczka "Formic Acid" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry 2002, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim. doi:10.1002/14356007.a12_013
- Process Economics Reports, Review 88-1-1, Process Economics Program, SRI Consulting, California, 1999
- W. Couteau, J. Ramioulle, US Patent US4216339
- United Nations Environment Program Rigid and Flexible Foams Technical Options Committee 2006 Assessment report. http://ozone.unep.org/teap/Reports/FTOC/ftoc_assessment_report06.pdf
- NIST Chemistry WebBook: Methyl formate
- ChemicalLand21.com entry on METHYL FORMATE
- CDC - NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards