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Formic acid

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Formic acid
758px-Formic-acid.pngFormicAcid pdb.png
Systematic name Methanoic acid
Other names

Hydrogen carboxylic acid
Formylic acid
Aminic acid

Molecular formula CH2O2


Molar mass Molar mass::46.0254 g/mol
Appearance colorless liquid
CAS number CAS number::64-18-6
Density and phase [[Density::1.22 g/cm3]], liquid
Solubility in water Miscible
Melting point Melting point::8.4°C
Boiling point Boiling point::100.8°C
Acidity 3.744
Viscosity 1.57cP at 26°C
Dipole moment 1.41 D
MSDS External MSDS Data
Main hazards moderate fire hazard
corrosive, irritant, sensitizer
NFPA 704

NFPA 704 svg.png

Flash point 69°C (156°F)
R/S statement R: skin burns or eye damage.
trouble breathing
S: Wear skin protection
(gloves) and goggles.
RTECS number LQ4900000
Related compounds
Related carboxylic acids acetic acid, propionic acid
Related compounds formaldehyde methanol
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Disclaimer and references

Formic Acid occurs naturally and was first discovered in 1671 in the bodies of ants. This acid is also found in the natural state of stinging nettles and bees, causing whoever to come in contact with them to have a burning and irritated feeling. [1] [2]


Formic acid shares most of the chemical properties of other carboxylic acids. Heat can cause formic acid to decompose to carbon monoxide and water. Formic acid shares some of the reducing properties of aldehydes. Formic acids and alkenes react to form formate esters. In the presence of certain acids, including sulfuric and hydrofluoric acids, a variant of the Koch reaction takes place instead, and formic acid adds to the alkene to produce a bigger carboxylic acid.[3]


acidic ants

English naturalist John Ray discovered formic acid. he took a number of distilled dead ants and extracted the acid out of them. In nature is found in ants. The ants use it as a self defense or and attack. They are also found in stinging nettles bee stings and some insects. All of which are used as a defense mechanism.[4]


The main use for Formic Acid to day would be in preserving food for livestock. It helps slow down the decaying process and allows for the food to contain a more nutritive value for a longer period of time. Other smaller uses are: "It is importance in the textile industry and for the tanning of leather. It is used to process organic latex into rubber. and is used in laboratories as a solvent modifier for HPLC separations of proteins and peptides". [5]


In storing formic acid, keep in a tightly closed container. Store in a cool, dry, ventilated area away from sources of heat or ignition. Also protect against any physical damage. Store separately from reactive or combustible materials, and out of direct sunlight. If it is highly corrosive it should be handled in 316 stainless steel, glass, ceramic, or similar corrosion resistant materials.