Types of Solvents and their Applications

What are solvents?

Subject: Types of Solvents and their Applications

16-May-2011 Adhesives, Paint and Coatings, Chemical , Adhesives

What are solvents?

Solvents are organic compounds based on the chemical element carbon. They produce effects similar to those of alcohol or anesthetics.

For industrial use, inhalants are called solvents due to their capacity to dissolve many substances.

With the introduction of the use of petroleum and its derivatives during the twentieth century, there are more and more commercial products that contain solvents: thinners, adhesives, cleaners, fuels, lubricants, etc.




Uses and Applications




Also called methylbenzene, colorless and flammable liquid related to benzene, an important component in coal tar, obtained from the petroleum refining process.

Used to elevate the octane in gasoline (jet fuel); for the production of benzene and phenol; as a solvent for the processing of paints, resins, coatings, rubbers, detergents, chemicals (benzoic acid), perfumes, medicines, saccharine, etc.


Also called dimethylbenzene, has three isomers (ortho, meta and para),  flammable liquid with an odor similar to that of benzene, colorless, found in coal tar, used as a solvent or as a diluent.

Used primarily as a solvent for resins, lacquers, enamels, rubber, ink, leather, jet fuel; as a degreasing agent; in the production of epoxy resin; and, in the preparation of perfumes, insecticides and repellents



Ethyl Acetate

Colorless liquid, easily flammable, boils at 74º to 77º C, obtained by distillation of alcohol with acetic acid

Recommended for use in drug laboratories where it is used in the liquid extraction of antibiotics.  In the paint industry, as an active solvent for dissolving synthetic resins employed in paint preparation; other uses include fragrances, dyes, flavorings, etc.

Butyl Acetate

Colorless liquid, easily flammable, boils at 126.5º C

Recommended as a solvent and for enhancing octane levels




Aromatic liquid, colorless, flammable, the simplest form of ketone, important as a solvent and extraction medium

Used primarily as a solvent in the manufacture of: cellulose acetate, paints, lacquers and adhesives, dyes from the diphenylamine series, isoprene, artificial leather, adhesive mixtures of nitrocellulose, lubricants, perfumes, pharmaceuticals, plastics, rubberized cement. Also used for fat and oil extraction, tonics, paraffin purification, etc.

Methyl Isobutyl Ketone

Colorless liquid, flammable and toxic, with an odor similar to acetone and camphor. Partially soluble in water, miscible in alcohol.

Used for organic synthesis, rubber solvents, resins, nitrocellulose lacquers, production of coatings and adhesives

Methyl Ethyl Ketone

Odor similar to mint (fragrant and moderately penetrating), colorless liquid, bright, very volatile and highly flammable, insoluble in water

Used in the production of solvents for coatings, adhesives, magnetic tape; in the separation of wax from lubricating oils; in the production of printing inks, synthetic leather, cellophane, aluminum foil, lacquers, degreasers; in the extraction of fats, oils, and waxes; in synthetic and natural resins


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