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mesityl oxide[′mez·ə‚til ′äk‚sīd]
an unsaturated aliphatic ketone, (CH3)2=CH—CO—CH3; a colorless liquid with a strong odor of mint. Boiling point, 128.3°C; density, 0.8548 g/cm3 at 20°C.
Mesityl oxide is miscible with organic solvents and reacts with water to form an azeotrope (65.2 percent mesityl oxide; boiling point, 91.8°C). It is prepared commercially by dehydration of diacetone alcohol, (CH3)2C(OH)CH2COCH3, under the action of, for example, traces of iodine or inorganic acids; it may also be obtained from acetone. It is used as a solvent for cellulose nitrate, ethyl cellulose, and polyvinyl chloride. It has a weak irritating and narcotic effect.