Acetophenone is the organic compound with the formula C6H5C(O)CH3. It is the simplest aromatic ketone. This colourless, viscous liquid is a precursor to useful resins and fragrances.
Acetophenone can be obtained by a variety of methods. In industry, acetophenone is recovered as a by-product of the oxidation of ethylbenzene, which mainly gives ethylbenzene hydroperoxide for use in the production of propylene oxide.
Precursor to resins
Commercially significant resins are produced from treatment of acetophenone with formaldehyde and base. The resulting polymers are conventionally described with the formula [(C6H5C(O)CH]x(CH2)x}n, resulting from aldol condensation. These materials are components of coatings and inks. Modified acetophenone-formaldehyde resins are produced by the hydrogenation of the aforementioned ketone-containing resins. The resulting polyol can be further crosslinked with diisocyanates. These modified resins are again found in coatings, inks, as well as adhesives.
Precursor to styrene
In instructional laboratories, acetophenone is converted to styrene in a two step process that illustrates the reduction of carbonyls and the dehydration of alcohols:
A similar process is used industrially but the hydrogenation step to 1-phenylethanol is done over a copper catalyst.
Acetophenone is a raw material for the synthesis of some pharmaceuticals  and is also listed as an approved excipient by the U.S. FDA. In a 1994 report released by five top cigarette companies in the U.S., acetophenone was listed as one of the 599 additives to cigarettes.
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