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Acetone vs. Chloroform: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Published on December 22, 2023
"Acetone is a volatile, flammable solvent used in industry and nail polish remover; chloroform, a dense, sweet-smelling liquid, was historically used as an anesthetic."

Key Differences

Acetone is a solvent known for its ability to dissolve various organic compounds, widely used in industries and laboratories. Chloroform, a heavier, trichloromethane compound, was once commonly used as an anesthetic in medical settings.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 22, 2023
In terms of physical properties, acetone is less dense and more volatile compared to chloroform. Chloroform is denser and has a distinct sweet smell, and it was historically used for its anesthetic properties.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 22, 2023
Acetone is commonly found in nail polish removers and as a cleaner in the electronic industry, reflecting its versatile solvent properties. Chloroform, due to its health risks, is less common and is used more in controlled laboratory settings for organic synthesis and extraction.
Huma Saeed
Dec 22, 2023
Health-wise, acetone is considered less toxic but can be irritating to the skin and eyes, whereas chloroform is known for its potential carcinogenic and organotoxic effects.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 22, 2023
In environmental impact, both chemicals can contribute to air pollution; however, chloroform is also a significant groundwater contaminant due to its heavier nature and slower degradation.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 22, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Primary Use

Solvent, nail polish remover
Historically as an anesthetic, now in laboratories
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 22, 2023

Density and Volatility

Less dense, highly volatile
Denser, less volatile
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 22, 2023

Common Applications

Industrial solvent, cosmetics
Laboratory solvent, organic synthesis
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 22, 2023

Health Risks

Irritant to skin and eyes, less toxic
Potential carcinogen, toxic to organs
Janet White
Dec 22, 2023

Environmental Impact

Air pollutant
Air and groundwater pollutant
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 22, 2023
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Acetone and Chloroform Definitions

Acetone

Common ingredient in nail polish removers.
She used acetone to take off her nail polish.
Janet White
Dec 06, 2023

Chloroform

Used in laboratories for organic synthesis.
Chloroform served as a solvent in the chemical reaction.
Janet White
Dec 06, 2023

Acetone

A solvent used in manufacturing processes.
Acetone was used in the production of plastics.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Chloroform

Known for its potential health hazards.
Handling chloroform requires protective equipment.
Harlon Moss
Dec 06, 2023

Acetone

A simple ketone often used in chemical labs.
The experiment required acetone as a reactant.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 06, 2023

Chloroform

A solvent that can contaminate groundwater.
The site was contaminated with chloroform.
Janet White
Dec 06, 2023

Acetone

A colorless, quickly evaporating liquid.
The acetone evaporated within minutes.
Harlon Moss
Dec 06, 2023

Chloroform

A trichloromethane compound with a sweet smell.
The distinct smell indicated the presence of chloroform.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Acetone

A volatile, flammable liquid used as a solvent.
Acetone easily removed the paint from the surface.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 06, 2023

Chloroform

A dense, colorless liquid formerly used as an anesthetic.
Chloroform was once a common surgical anesthetic.
Huma Saeed
Dec 06, 2023

Acetone

A colorless, volatile, extremely flammable liquid ketone, C3H6O, widely used as an organic solvent. It is one of the ketone bodies that accumulate in the blood and urine when fat is being metabolized.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Chloroform

A clear, colorless, dense, sweet-smelling liquid, CHCl3, used in refrigerants, propellants, and resins, as a solvent, and sometimes as an anesthetic. Chloroform, once widely used in human and veterinary surgery, has generally been replaced by less toxic, more easily controlled agents.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Acetone

(organic compound) A colourless, volatile, flammable liquid ketone, (CH3)2CO, used as a solvent.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Chloroform

To treat with chloroform to anesthetize, render unconscious, or kill.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Acetone

A volatile liquid consisting of three parts of carbon, six of hydrogen, and one of oxygen; pyroacetic spirit, - obtained by the distillation of certain acetates, or by the destructive distillation of citric acid, starch, sugar, or gum, with quicklime.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Chloroform

To apply chloroform to.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Acetone

The simplest ketone; a highly inflammable liquid widely used as an organic solvent and as material for making plastics
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Chloroform

(organic compound) A halogenated hydrocarbon, trichloromethane, CHCl3; it is a volatile, sweet-smelling liquid, used extensively as a solvent and formerly as an anesthetic.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Chloroform

To treat with chloroform, or to render unconscious with chloroform.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Chloroform

A colorless volatile liquid, CHCl3, having an ethereal odor and a sweetish taste, formed by treating alcohol with chlorine and an alkali. It is a powerful solvent of wax, resin, etc., and is extensively used to produce anæsthesia in surgical operations; also externally, to alleviate pain.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Chloroform

To treat with chloroform, or to place under its influence.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Chloroform

A volatile liquid haloform (CHCl3); formerly used as an anesthetic;
Chloroform was the first inhalation anesthetic
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Chloroform

Anesthetize with chloroform;
Doctors used to put people under by chloroforming them
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

FAQs

Is acetone naturally occurring?

Yes, in small amounts in the human body and nature.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 22, 2023

How toxic is chloroform?

It's quite toxic and can be carcinogenic.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 22, 2023

Is acetone dangerous?

In high concentrations, it can be harmful.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 22, 2023

Can chloroform fumes be dangerous?

Yes, they can be very harmful if inhaled.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 22, 2023

Is acetone used in pharmaceuticals?

Rarely, primarily used as a solvent in manufacturing.
Harlon Moss
Dec 22, 2023

Can chloroform be found naturally?

Yes, but in very limited and specific environments.
Huma Saeed
Dec 22, 2023

Are acetone fumes harmful?

They can be irritating to the eyes and respiratory system.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 22, 2023

Is chloroform a good solvent?

Yes, especially in organic chemistry.
Harlon Moss
Dec 22, 2023

Can acetone cause fires?

Yes, it's highly flammable.
Janet White
Dec 22, 2023

Is chloroform still used in surgeries?

No, it's no longer used due to safety concerns.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 22, 2023

Can acetone dissolve plastics?

Yes, it can dissolve certain types of plastics.
Harlon Moss
Dec 22, 2023

Is acetone safe on skin?

Brief contact is usually safe, but prolonged exposure can irritate.
Harlon Moss
Dec 22, 2023

Was chloroform ever used in medicine?

Yes, as an anesthetic in the past.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 22, 2023

Is acetone environmentally friendly?

Not entirely, it contributes to air pollution.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 22, 2023

Is chloroform a controlled substance?

In many countries, due to its potential misuse and toxicity.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 22, 2023

What industries use acetone?

Cosmetics, plastics, and pharmaceuticals, among others.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 22, 2023

How is acetone produced?

Commercially through the cumene process.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 22, 2023

How is chloroform disposed of?

It requires careful disposal due to its toxicity.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 22, 2023

Can chloroform be detected in water?

Yes, using specific chemical testing methods.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 22, 2023

What precautions are needed for chloroform?

Protective gear and good ventilation are essential.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 22, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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