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Acetone volatility

  1. Jul 1, 2007 #1
    When you pour some acetone on the ground and it evaporates does it leave any residue at all or does it vanish without a trace?

    I love working with acetone because whenever I spill it on my hands I don't even have to wash them since it evaporates in a matter of seconds and doesn't even leave a smell on my hands.

    Would I be right in assuming paint stripper acetone you buy in the hardware stores is relatively pure and evaporates without a trace when exposed to air?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 2, 2007 #2


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    Reagent grade acetone is relatively pure and is relatively expensive. The expense comes from the testing, hermetic container and purification to specification of the material. Sources of acetone that are somewhat less pure or difficult to purify might find their way to the paint or solvent market, but that is not always the case. In the case of paint stripper acetone, you are buying the bottom of the barrel stuff. It could be pure one day and contaminated the next. If the impurity doesn't adversely affect the paint stripping property, no harm done. So, its a crap shoot when you use paint stripper acetone as to its purity. Often water is the major impurity.

    One note... acetone will defat your skin and allow anything dissolved in it or anything on your hand to be absorbed right through your skin. You might get away with washing your hands in it without any problems but in the long term it is much more likely that something bad could happen. Yeah, cancer and stuff...

    USE GLOVES! (and live a little longer)
  4. Jul 2, 2007 #3
    I didn't know that skin defatting detail about acetone. Can "any" chemical dissolved in it seep through your pours? What would you look for in the MSDS to see if a chemicals dangerous when absorbed through the skin? Most MSDS's tell you if a chemicals dangerous when ingested but it's not really the same thing is it?
  5. Jul 2, 2007 #4


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    Well, anything that is water-soluble and is capable of removing paint is a good candidate. DMSO, THF, diethyl ether, chloroform, methylene chloride and other polar solvents would be likely as well. DMSO is a special case and is used in some transdermal medicaments. You are supposed to be able to taste DMSO in your mouth within seconds after rubbing some on your hand. Hummmm, garlicky! Some surfactants can do this to some degree. Any solvents that you can smell on your breath or body after exposure are suspect, of course.

    Pay attention to personal protection...
  6. Jul 2, 2007 #5
    Thanks for the heads up.
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