What is the molar mass of acetic acid?

In this brief guide, we will address the search query: “What is the molar mass of acetic acid?” Also, we’ll explore what Acetic acid is, how acetic acid is obtained, what a mole is, and what are some uses for acetic acid. 

What is the molar mass of acetic acid?

The molar mass of acetic acid is 60.05 grams per mole. The chemical formula for acetic acid is CH₃COOH, and the calculation can be obtained by adding the atomic weights of each element, as many times as it appears in the formula. 

Notably, the atomic weight of carbon is 12.011 u (atomic mass units), Hydrogen has an atomic weight of 1.00784 u, and Oxygen has an atomic weight of 15.99 (16) u. 

As acetic acid has 2 carbon atoms, 2 oxygen atoms, and 4 hydrogen atoms, the summation will look like this: 

(12.011*2) + (16*2) + (1.00784*4) = 60.0533

A mole is the summation of the atomic mass of the atoms in a compound’s formula, expressed in grams, and therefore, a single mole of acetic acid, equates to 60.05 grams. To weigh this value in advance of any chemical reaction, we recommend using an analytical chemistry scale.

What is acetic acid?

Acetic acid is an organic acid, that contains a carboxylic functional group (COOH). It is commonly found in vinegar, which can concentrate between 4 to 18% of acetic acid. 

Chemically, it is made up of one carbon atom that is bound to three hydrogen atoms (a methyl group), and this carbon is linked to a second carbon atom, which is bound to two oxygen atoms and a hydrogen atom (a carboxylic group). 

Acetic acid has various applications. It can be used in cooking, as a cleaning product, and it has several industrial applications, such as photography, and in the textile industry, along with polymers and adhesives.  

It also has a biologically important role, as it is key to some enzyme activities that are essential in lipid and carbohydrate metabolisms. 

How is acetic acid obtained?

Acetic acid can be obtained by synthetic means (based on chemical reactions) and through the biological activity of some microorganisms. 

At an industrial scale, synthetic means provide the bulk of acetic acid supplies, while fermentation with microbes accounts for only 10% of the supply that is produced. 

There are many methods such as methanol carbonylation, acetaldehyde oxidation, ethylene oxidation, methyl formate isomerization, and gas conversions. However, these synthetic processes require other compounds as raw materials, which are subjected to chemical reactions that produce acetic acid. 

These processes are efficient and carried out on a large scale by chemical companies. 

The oldest method, however, is also the one that produces scant volumes of acetic acid, in comparison to the others. Fermentation with microbes to produce acetic acid is achieved by cultivating acid-producing bacteria (from the Acetobacter group) and providing them with alcohol to ferment into acetic acid. 

This can be done with various alcoholic substances such as pure ethanol, cider, and other types. Generally, acetic acid obtained through this method is for culinary and domestic use. 

What is a mole in chemistry?

In chemistry, a mole alludes to the mass of an element or compound, that is necessary for there to be 6.02214076 × 10*23 atoms or molecules (depending on whether it’s a pure element or a compound). 

In simpler terms, it refers to the atomic mass of an element, expressed in grams. In the case of compounds, a mole will amount to the addition of all the atomic masses of the elements present in it, and each one is added as many times as there are atoms present in the chemical formula. 

For reference, one mole of water equates to 18 grams. This is because the chemical formula of water is H₂O, which means that there are two hydrogen atoms, and one of oxygen. 

As hydrogen has an atomic mass of 1.00784 u, and oxygen has an atomic mass of 15.99 u, the summation will look like this: 

(1.00784 * 2) + 15.99 = 18.00568

Expressed in grams, a single mole of water equates to 18 grams. 

What are some uses for acetic acid?

Acetic acid has several uses, among them; it can be used as a preservative and an additive in foods, and it can be used in industrial formulations such as cleaning products, dyes, cosmetics, pesticides, polymers, and solvents. 

However, acetic acid is an acid, and despite it not being as corrosive as some inorganic types, it can inflict chemical burns on a person’s skin, eyes, mucous membranes, and airways. 

We advise caution to our readers who plan to handle acetic acid for their activities, and we urge them to always follow safety guidelines, such as being near a station with running water and having access to a first aid kit. 


In this brief guide, we have addressed the search query: “What is the molar mass of acetic acid?” Also, we’ve explored what Acetic acid is, how acetic acid is obtained, what a mole is, and what are some uses for acetic acid.