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Preferred IUPAC name
Other names
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.001.024
EC Number 201-126-0
Molar mass 138.21 g·mol−1
Appearance Colorless to white liquid
Odor Peppermint-like[2]
Density 0.9255 g/cm3
Melting point −8.1 °C (17.4 °F; 265.0 K)
Boiling point 215.32 °C (419.58 °F; 488.47 K)
1.2 g/100 mL
Solubility ether, acetone, hexane, dichloromethane, benzene, toluene, alcohol
Vapor pressure 0.3 mmHg (20°C)[2]
Viscosity 2.62 cP
43.4 kJ/mol
Flash point 84 °C (183 °F; 357 K)
460 °C (860 °F; 733 K)
Explosive limits 0.8%-3.8%[2]
Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):
2280 mg/kg (rat, oral)[citation needed]
2330 mg/kg (rat, oral)
2690 mg/kg (mouse, oral)[3]
4600 ppm (guinea pig, 8 hr)[3]
885 ppm (rat, 6 hr)
1840 ppm (rat, 4 hr)[3]
US health exposure limits (NIOSH):
PEL (Permissible)
TWA 25 ppm (140 mg/m3)[2]
REL (Recommended)
TWA 4 ppm (23 mg/m3)[2]
IDLH (Immediate danger)
200 ppm[2]
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Isophorone is an α,β-unsaturated cyclic ketone. It is a colorless liquid with a characteristic peppermint-like odor, although commercial samples can appear yellowish. Used as a solvent and as a precursor to polymers, it is produced on a large scale industrially.[4]

Structure and reactivity[edit]

Isophorone undergoes reactions characteristic of an α,β-unsaturated ketone. Hydrogenation gives the cyclohexanone derivative. Epoxidation with basic hydrogen peroxide affords the oxide.[5]

Isophorone is degraded by attack of hydroxyl radicals.[6]


When exposed to sunlight in aqueous solutions, isophorone undergoes 2+2 photocycloaddition to give three isomeric photodimers (Figure). These "diketomers" are cis-syn-cis, head to tail (HT), cys-anti-cys (HT), and head-head (HH). The formation of HH photodimers is favored over HT photodimers with increasing polarity of the medium.[7]

Available forms of isophorone after a light dependent reaction.jpg


Isophorone is produced on a multi-thousand ton scale by the aldol condensation of acetone using KOH. Diacetone alcohol, mesityl oxide, and 3-hydroxy-3,5,5-trimethylcyclohexan-1-one are intermediates. A side product is β-isophorone, where the C=C group is not conjugated with the ketone.[4]

Synthesis of Isophorone using a self-condensation reaction.jpg


The hydrogenated derivative trimethylcyclohexanone is used in production of polycarbonates. It condenses with phenol to give an analogue of bisphenol A. Polycarbonates produced by phosgenation of these two diols produces a polymer with improved thermal stability.[8] Trimethyladipic acid and 2,2,4-trimethylhexamethylenediamine are produced from trimethylcyclohexanone and trimethylcyclohexanol. They are used to make specialty polyamides. Hydrocyanation gives the nitrile followed by reductive amination gives isophorone diamine. This diamine is used to produce isophorone diisocyanate which has certain niche applications.[4]

Isophorone diisocyanate is used to produce specialty polyurethanes.


The LD50 value of isophorone in rats and rabbits by oral exposure is around the 2.00 g/kg.[9] The safety aspects of isophorone have been subject to several studies.[10]


The use of isophorone as a solvent resulted from the search for ways to dispose of or recycle acetone, which is a waste product of phenol synthesis by the Hock method.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Merck Index, 13th Edition, 5215.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards #0355". National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
  3. ^ a b c "Isophorone". Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health Concentrations (IDLH). National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
  4. ^ a b c Hardo Siegel, Manfred Eggersdorfer (2005). "Ketones". Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. doi:10.1002/14356007.a15_077.
  5. ^ Richard L. Wasson, Herbert O. House (1957). "Isophorone Oxide". Org. Synth. 37: 58. doi:10.15227/orgsyn.037.0058.
  6. ^ "TOXNET". Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  7. ^ Gonçalves, Huguette; Robinet, Germaine; Barthelat, Michèle; Lattes, Armand (1998-01-28). "Supramolecularity and Photodimerization of Isophorone: FTIR and Molecular Mechanics Studies". The Journal of Physical Chemistry A. 102 (8): 1279–1287. doi:10.1021/jp9729270.
  8. ^ Volker Serini (2000). "Polycarbonates". Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. doi:10.1002/14356007.a21_207.
  9. ^ "Toxicity Effects". Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  10. ^ W. Morton Grant, Joel S. Schuman M.D (11 February 2016). "Toxicology of the Eye: Effects on the Eyes and Visual System from Chemicals, Drugs, Metals and Minerals, Plants, Toxins, and Venoms; Also, Systemic Side Effects from Eye". med (2-Volume Set) 4th Edition, page 863.
  11. ^ Isophorone history at Degussa