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butyric acid

butyric acid (byōtĭrˈĭk) [key] or butanoic acid byōtənōˈĭk, CH3CH2CH2CO2H, viscous, foul-smelling, liquid carboxylic acid; m.p. about - 5°C; b.p. 163.5°C. It is miscible with water, ethanol, and ether. It is a low molecular weight fatty acid that is present in butter as an ester of glycerol; the odor of rancid butter is due largely to the presence of free butyric acid. Butyric acid is used in the manufacture of plastics. Isobutyric acid, or 2-methylpropanoic acid, (CH3)2CHCO2H, is a geometric isomer of the butyric acid described above; it has different physical properties but similar chemical properties.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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