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Q & A: Boiling point of vinegar

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
What is the effect of vinegar on the boiling temperature of water? what is the boiling point of vinegar with water? and what is the difference betweeen Acetic Acid and Vinegar?
- Martin Espinoza (age 13)
Horizon Middle School, Kissimme Fl , USA
A:
Typical household vinegar is a 4% to 6% (by weight) solution of acetic acid (CH3C00H) in water. The addition of impurities to water raises the boiling point. For the concentration of household vinegar, the boiling point is about 100.6 degrees Celsius, or about 213 degrees F. You can expect higher concentrations of acetic acid to increase the boiling point even more. Diluting the vinegar will bring the boiling point closer to that of pure water. Additional substances mixed in with the vinegar may change its boiling point by small amounts, but only for the dissolved substances, not ones in suspension.

You might search this site under 'boiling' to find answers about why solutes raise the boiling point and lower the freezing point.

We'd like to thank Prof. Margaret Kastner of Bucknell University for bringing to our attention that my previous answer was wrong. I had incorrectly stated that the boiling point was 118 degrees C, which is in fact the boiling point of glacial acetic acid, which is approximately 99% CH3C00H.

Tom

(published on 10/22/2007)

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