Methyl butyrate

Methyl butyrate
Methyl butyrate[1]
CAS number 623-42-7 YesY
RTECS number ET5500000
Jmol-3D images Image 1
Molecular formula C5H10O2
Molar mass 102.13 g/mol
Appearance Colourless liquid
Density 898 kg/m³
Melting point

-95 °C (178K)

Boiling point

102 °C (375K)

Solubility in water 1.5 g/100 mL (22 °C)
Refractive index (nD) 1.386
NFPA 704
NFPA 704.svg
Flash point 12 °C
 YesY butyrate (verify) (what is: YesY/N?)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references

Methyl butyrate, also known under the systematic name methyl butanoate, is the methyl ester of butyric acid. Like most esters, it has a fruity odour, in this case resembling apples or pineapples. At room temperature, it is a colourless liquid with low solubility in water, upon which it floats to form an oily layer. Although it is flammable, it has a relatively low vapour pressure (40mm Hg at 30 °C (86 °F)), so it can be safely handled at room temperature without special safety precautions.[2]

It is present in small amounts in several plant products, especially pineapple oil.[3] It can be produced by distillation from essential oils of vegetable origin, but is also manufactured on a small scale for use in perfumes[4] and as a food flavouring.

Methyl butanoate has been used in combustion studies as a surrogate fuel for the larger fatty acid methyl esters found in biodiesel.[5] However, studies have shown that, due to its short-chain length, methyl butanoate does not reproduce well the negative temperature coefficient (NTC) behaviour and early CO2 formation characteristics of real biodiesel fuels. Therefore, methyl butanoate is not a suitable surrogate fuel for biodiesel combustion studies.[6]


  1. ^ Merck Index, 13th Edition
  2. ^ Aldrich Chemicals Handbook, Sigma-Aldrich Company, Milwaukee, (2007)
  3. ^ Flath, Robert A.; Forrey, R. R. (1970). "Volatile components of Smooth Cayenne pineapple". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 18 (2): 306–309. doi:10.1021/jf60168a018. 
  4. ^ Use of methyl butyrate as an additive in perfume
  5. ^ Methyl butyrate as a component of biodiesel
  6. ^ A wide-ranging kinetic modeling study of methyl butanoate combustion

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