Methyl methacrylate

August 27, 2018
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Methyl methacrylate (MMA) is an unsaturated ester that has several uses in polymer manufacturing. It is a clear liquid with a characteristic ester odor.

There are several synthetic routes to MMA. The most widely used are a three-step sequence that begins with acetone and HCN and proceeds through acetone cyanohydrin; and a two-step process that begins with the reaction of ethylene and methanol to produce methyl propionate.

By far the greatest volume of MMA is polymerized to the homopolymer poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA). The polymer is a clear plastic that is known by the familiar trade names Lucite and Plexiglas.

MMA is also copolymerized with styrene and butadiene to make an additive to poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) that improves its properties. MMA is also transesterified to make specialty methacrylate monomers.

Methyl methacrylate hazard information

GHS classification*: flammable liquids, category 2
H225—Highly flammable liquid and vapor Chemical Safety Warning
GHS classification: skin irritation, category 2
H315—Causes skin irritation Chemical Safety Warning
GHS classification: skin sensitization, category 1
H317—May cause an allergic skin reaction Chemical Safety Warning
GHS classification: specific target organ toxicity, single exposure; respiratory tract irritation, category 3
H335—May cause respiratory irritation Chemical Safety Warning
GHS classification: hazardous to the aquatic environment, acute hazard, category 3

*Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. Explanation of pictograms.

Methyl methacrylate
fast facts

CAS Reg. No.


Molar mass 100.12 g/mol
Empirical formula C5H8O2
Appearance Colorless liquid
Boiling point

101 ºC

Water solubility 15 g/L
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