Acetic acid in everyday life

Things you should know about vinegar

Acetic acid with the for­mu­la CH₃­COOH is a weak car­bon­ic acid which has been known to hu­man­i­ty since an­cient times, and was ob­tained through the method of fer­ment­ing wine.

Acetic acid [Deposit Photos]

The first men­tion of acetic acid is en­coun­tered in sources dat­ing back three cen­turies BCE. Nowa­days, vine­gar is wide­ly used in ev­ery­day life, es­pe­cial­ly in the kitchen, so cook­ing en­thu­si­asts will be in­ter­est­ed to find out how to make acetic acid and ob­tain the re­quired so­lu­tion. This ar­ti­cle will tell you how to achieve the re­quired con­cen­tra­tion, and you will also learn about dif­fer­ent types of this sub­stance, and how they are used.

Let’s take a look at what this sub­stance is used for in cook­ing

With a vine­gar base can be added to sal­ads. Vine­gar is used for mar­i­nat­ing fish and meat and for pre­serv­ing prod­ucts.

Vine­gar in the house­hold

It is also used to re­move stains on dish­es and cloth­ing, to dis­in­fect items: sur­faces are rubbed down with vine­gar, and to soft­en cloth­ing dur­ing wash­ing.

These are not all the spheres where acetic acid is used, for ex­am­ple the acid can be used to treat mus­cle ail­ments etc.

How to ob­tain vine­gar in in­dus­try

There are two meth­ods of ob­tain­ing acetic acid: chem­i­cal and mi­cro­bi­o­log­i­cal. The first method in­volves the wood dis­til­la­tion, and the sec­ond the fer­men­ta­tion of liq­uids con­tain­ing al­co­hol. In these liq­uids, the spe­cial bac­te­ria Ace­to­bac­ter aceti ac­tive­ly de­vel­op, which take place in the process of mak­ing acetic acid and give an orig­i­nal taste and aro­ma.

Acetobacter aceti [Wikipedia]

There are dif­fer­ent types of vine­gar, but the most pop­u­lar are:

  • ta­ble or syn­thet­ic vine­gar;

  • nat­u­ral vine­gar;

  • ap­ple vine­gar ob­tained from the fer­men­ta­tion of ap­ples.

Mak­ing ta­ble vine­gar

We of­ten want to know how to di­lute vine­gar essence with wa­ter, in or­der to ob­tain a cer­tain so­lu­tion that is suit­able for use. Vine­gar essence is a high­ly con­cen­trat­ed so­lu­tion of acetic acid with a con­cen­tra­tion of 70-80%, while or­di­nary vine­gar has an acid con­cen­tra­tion of 3 to 15%. You can make or­di­nary vine­gar from vine­gar essence in the home, but you need to ob­serve one rule: keep safe!

For the ex­per­i­ment, you will need:

  • 70% vine­gar essence;

  • a glass ves­sel;

  • cold boiled wa­ter;

  • a ta­ble­spoon;

  • also use gloves while mak­ing the so­lu­tion.

When there’s only essence in the home, but a 9% vine­gar so­lu­tion is re­quired, this presents an im­pos­si­ble prob­lem for cooks. But mak­ing a low-con­cen­tra­tion so­lu­tion at home is quite sim­ple: even a per­son who is in­ex­pe­ri­enced in chem­istry may achieve the re­quired re­sult.

To make a weak 3% so­lu­tion, you will need 20 ta­ble­spoons of wa­ter per one ta­ble­spoon of essence. A 6% so­lu­tion can be ob­tained as fol­lows: per one ta­ble­spoon of essence, add 11 ta­ble­spoons of wa­ter.

For a 9% so­lu­tion, use 7 ta­ble­spoons. By adding a lot of wa­ter to a small amount of vine­gar, you will get a weak con­cen­trate.

Why you should be care­ful when work­ing with vine­gar

Vine­gar is an or­gan­ic acid and as we know when this sub­stance touch­es the skin, you may get a mild chem­i­cal burn, es­pe­cial­ly if you’re work­ing with an essence. But some­times skin lay­ers are so bad­ly in­jured that ur­gent med­i­cal at­ten­tion is re­quired. So you shouldn’t keep a bot­tle of acetic acid where small chil­dren can reach it: kids are al­ways cu­ri­ous. In di­lut­ing the essence, we rec­om­mend that you wear gloves, and that the room is well aired.

If undi­lut­ed vine­gar does get on your skin, then wa­ter with soda or a soap so­lu­tion may help. If the burn is se­vere, call a doc­tor.

When vine­gar gets on to the mu­cous mem­brane, it caus­es a burn. So in this case you must rinse the mu­cous mem­brane and eyes with cold wa­ter, and if the con­di­tion is crit­i­cal, im­me­di­ate­ly call a doc­tor. You should also call a doc­tor if you suf­fer food poi­son­ing from vine­gar.

An in­ter­est­ing ex­per­i­ment with vine­gar

You can show this ex­per­i­ment to chil­dren, they’ll love the ef­fect: a chick­en egg turns rub­bery!

You will need:

  • vine­gar essence;

  • a raw chick­en egg;

  • a glass;

  • and of course pa­tience!

You can do this trick at home, but make sure that the child con­ducts the ex­per­i­ment with an adult present! Put the egg in the glass and cov­er it with vine­gar. You can see lit­tle bub­bles of gas form­ing on the eggshell im­me­di­ate­ly. This re­ac­tion takes place be­cause of the vine­gar dis­solves the cal­ci­um that the eggshell is made of. Leave the egg in the vine­gar for 24 hours. Then re­move the egg with a spoon and place it on a plate, and rinse it with cold wa­ter. But you can get the re­sult 10x times faster! Click here to find out how.

"Rubber" egg [Flickr]

The vine­gar has dis­solved the eggshell, but not the pro­tec­tive film. So the egg has pre­served its form and turned rub­bery. In­side it re­mains liq­uid.