Organic solvents - examples

Almost all solvents are organic solvents. Below is a definition and examples of which organic solvents are mainly used.

Solvents can be found in many areas

Not only do-it-yourselfers, but also craftsmen and industrial companies deal regularly with solvents. As a rule, no further chemical subdivisions are made. However, there is always talk of "organic solvents ". Almost all solvents are organic solvents. In a broader sense, water would be an inorganic solvent.

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Definition of solvent

A solvent is a substance that can dissolve another substance without affecting or chemically influencing it. to change. Chemical reactions between the two substances are also excluded. Solvents can dissolve substances in any physical state:

  • firmly
  • liquid
  • gaseous

The solvent does not necessarily have to be liquid or gaseous either. In the case of hydrogen propulsion, for example, the effect is used that a metal (a metallic-organic framework) can dissolve hydrogen.

Organic solvents

Organic can be defined as follows for solvents: they are carbonaceous agents. However, this statement must also be put into perspective, since not every carbon-containing solvent is an organic solvent.

Many organic solvents also contain halogens, nitrogen (e.g. nitrile) or hydrogen (e.g. carbon tetrachloride). Carbon-containing agents that are not assigned to organic substances would be carbonates, for example.

Aprotic and protic solvents

Another distinction based on the following criteria can be found more often:

  • aprotic: without a functional group of hydrogen atoms that can split off protons from the molecule
  • aprotic-polar: polar molecules with a permanent dipole moment
  • aprotic-non-polar: polar molecules without a permanent dipole moment
  • protic: with functional groups of hydrogen atoms that can split off protons from the molecule

The following are examples of organic solvents that meet these aspects.

Examples of aprotic organic solvents

Examples of aprotic polar:

  • Ketones acetone
  • Nitrile (acetonitrile)
  • Nitro compounds (nitromethane)
  • Carbonic acid ester (ethylene carbonate, dimethyl carbonate)

Examples of aprotic non-polar solvents

  • Alkanes (paraffin)
  • aromatic substances such as benzene,
  • Ether (diethyl ether)
  • halogenated hydrocarbons (hydrogen tetrachloride, chlorine)

Examples of protic solvents (usually inorganic)

  • water
  • Methanol
  • Amines
  • Carboxylic acids (acetic acid, formic acid)
  • Mineral acids (sulfuric acid)

Handling solvents as a layperson

Keeping an overview as a layperson is anything but easy. Therefore, you should always obtain the appropriate information before using a solvent. Particularly information on the risks, for example whether and to what extent an organic solvent such as acetone is harmful to health.

Tips & Tricks Solvents can also be found in numerous products for ordinary consumers. For example, there are superglues with solvents. If you want to find out more about this - also as a consumer - the in-house journal offers many useful information and advice articles on such topics.