Ethyl formate

  • IUPAC: Ethylmethanoat
  • Formic acid ester
  • Ameisensäurevinester
  • Ethyl formate
  • Methansäureethylester
  • Formosol
  • Methenyl
  • Rumether

Colorless liquid with an odor arrakartigem


0.92 g · cm -3

-80 ° C

54 ° C.

256 hPa ( 20 ° C)

Readily soluble in water (105 g ​​· l -1)

1.3609 (20 ° C)


Template: Infobox chemical / molecular formula search available

Ethyl formate (IUPAC: Ethylmethanoat, and ethyl formate ), the ester from ethanol ( C2H5OH ) and formic acid ( HCOOH ). He has a typical Rumgeruch ( arrack ).


As a natural flavoring ethyl formate comes in many different plants. It was also considered as one the most complex molecules in space, more precisely found in the star forming region Sagittarius B2, close to the Milky Way center.

Production and representation

His presentation is of formic acid and ethanol by esterification under water may be released:

The equilibrium is accelerated by the addition of strong acids and shifted by removal of the water formed in the reaction to the right side.


Physical Properties

Ethyl formate is a clear, volatile and highly flammable liquid with a characteristic odor. The vapor is air in the range of 2.7 vol - % (80 g · m -3) to 16.5 vol - % (500 g · m -3) explosive.

Chemical Properties

The ester may be hydrolyzed by reaction with water in a reversal of the formation reaction, ie hydrolyzed. The hydrolysis may be catalysed by acids, and then proceeds in an exact reverse of the esterification reaction; it arise again ethanol and formic acid. In the basic hydrolysis is obtained, however, ethanol, and a salt of formic acid, a formate.


Ethyl formate is mainly used to manufacture artificial, arrack and Rumessenzen. It is also used as a fungicide for cereals and tobacco. The use of ethyl formate in stored product protection was at least discussed. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, there is no admission of ethyl formate as a pesticide.

Ethyl formate is used as an intermediate in various organic syntheses ( formylation ). In the industry it is also used as a solvent for nitrocellulose, and cellulose acetate.


The ester is very flammable and reacts with many oxidizing agents. This can result in hazardous substances such as formic acid, formaldehyde and carbon monoxide. Formate can also be added to both the respiratory tract through the skin, as, with irritation of the eyes, mucous membranes and respiratory tract occur. Higher concentrations or recording for an extended period can cause damage to the central nervous system and the lungs.