What Is MEK?
MEK, otherwise known as Methyl Ethyl Ketone or 2-Butanone, is an industrial solvent with a slow evaporation rate.
Benefits of MEK
- Slow evaporation rate.
- High boiling point.
- High solvency.
- Low viscosity.
MEK has many household and industrial applications. It is often utilized as in paint coatings due to its effectiveness as a solvent.
Industrially, MEK is utilized in the manufacturing of plastic, textiles, and paraffin wax.
Methyl Ethyl Ketone is used to manufacture adhesives like those used in the production of PVC pipes, and the manufacturing of pharmaceutical and personal care products such as antiseptics, anesthetics, lotions, and pharmaceutical drugs.
MEK is also utilized in powder coatings in the automobile and electronics industries.
On the household level Methyl Ethyl Ketone is often found in lacquer, varnish, lacquer thinner, paint remover, denatured alcohol, glues and adhesives, and dry-erase markers.
MEK is also used in the production of lubricating oil and magnetic tape.
The most uncommon application of MEK is not strictly industrial or commercially produced–it’s natural.
Methyl Ethyl Ketone is a natural ingredient in many popular consumer food products including honey, raw chicken, apple juice, beans, butter, and a variety of cheeses.
The amount of MEK that is present in these foods is negligible.
MEK and Acetone
MEK is especially common in most lacquer thinner with a similar function to acetone that yields a fast evaporation rate and produces a strong cleaning agent.
MEK is present in Ecolink’s Lacquer Thinner #48, as well as Toluene, Acetone, Glycol EB–or 2-Butoxyethanol.
Methyl Ethyl Ketone is often considered as a potential replacement for acetone, because the two substances have similar properties, but MEK is better suited for many applications for several reasons.
Methyl Ethyl Ketone is a stronger cleaning agent than acetone, because MEK possesses a higher boiling point and a slower evaporation rate.
MEK, unlike acetone, also forms an azeotrope with water, this means that MEK and water reach a constant boiling point.
Azeotropes are useful when distilling moisture in certain applications, because the water is absorbed by the Methyl Ethyl Ketone.
Safe Use and Handling
Practice optimal safety when using MEK as it can be toxic under some circumstances:
- MEK is highly flammable.
- Air mixtures of MEK are explosive.
- Inhalation can cause dizziness, headache, cough, nausea and vomiting.
- MEK can cause redness and irritation to the eyes.
- Can cause unconsciousness upon ingestion.
- Store away from heat sources in a cool and dry area.
If you would like to purchase MEK please call (800)-563-1305 or shop online here.