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What is the formula for butanoic acid?

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Quick Answer

Butanoic acid, also called butyric acid, has a formula of CH3CH2CH2-COOH. It is found in dairy products and has a deeply unpleasant smell and bad taste. It is found in human vomit and gives it its distinctive smell. The acid is also created by fermentation in the gut.

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Full Answer

Butanoic acid is a colorless liquid that can be dissolved in water, ether or ethanol. It's a fairly strong acid that can attack metals.

Butanoic acid is used to make esters, which is usually done by replacing the hydrogen molecule in COOH with a carbon atom attached to three hydrogen atoms. Ironically, esters often smell sweet and taste pleasant.

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