Chemguide: Support for CIE A level Chemistry


Learning outcome 19.3(b)

This statement is about the uses of esters.

Before you go on, you should find and read the statement in your copy of the syllabus.


As solvents

Small esters such as methyl ethanoate, ethyl ethanoate and butyl ethanoate are very widely used as solvents.


As perfumes and flavourings

The smell and taste of fruits such as oranges, apples, pears, raspberries, strawberries, and so on, are due to naturally occurring esters. Many foods will have those same esters added to them to simulate the smell and taste of real fruit.

Flower and other smells are also produced by naturally occurring esters. Perfumes will have the same esters added. Benzyl ethanoate, for example, is used to produce jasmine or gardenia fragrances.


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© Jim Clark 2011 (last modified June 2014)