Methyl Isobutyl Ketone (MIBK) also known as hexanone is an organic compound with the formula (CH3)2CHCH2C(O)CH3. MIBK is a clear, colourless liquid which is very flammable under very high vapour pressure. MIBK should be used only when there is good ventilation and no ignition material should be kept near it. MIBK is toxic in nature. Short-term exposure of MIBK may irritate eyes and cause nausea, headache, vomiting etc. Long term exposure may cause insomnia, intestinal pain etc. MIBK does not cause adverse health or environmental effects at controlled levels.
MIBK is produced from acetone. Acetone is first treated with barium hydroxide to yield diacetone alcohol. Secondly, diacetone alcohol produced is dehydrated to mesityl oxide. Finally, the mesityl oxide is hydrogenated to saturate, the double bond to produce MIBK.
MIBK is commonly used as a process solvent. It is capable of separating and purifying some metal ions, such as zirconium from hafnium; in the extraction and purification of antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals; and in the manufacture of insecticides and other pesticides. In the paint and coating industry, MIBK is used primarily as a solvent in nitrocellulose lacquers and solvent borne coatings. It is a very strong solvent which is required for high-solids coatings. It is also used to replace ester-based solvent in paints to reduce volatile organic compound levels and achieve low solvent levels. MIBK is also very efficient at dissolving resins used in paints and other types of surface coatings.
MIBK is also used in purifying stearic acid; refining tall oil; and extracting rosin from softwood, especially pine.