Organic Solvent

Definition - What does Organic Solvent mean?

An organic solvent is a carbon-based substance that is used to dissolve another substance or substances. Since an organic solvent is carbon-based, it always has at least one carbon atom in its structure. An organic solvent will also always have at least one hydrogen atom.

Corrosionpedia explains Organic Solvent

Organic solvents are used to dissolve a variety of substances. Lacquers, varnishes, and adhesives are just a few examples of substances that can be dissolved by organic solvents.

Organic solvents are also considered volatile, which causes organic solvents to vaporize at room temperature and normal atmospheric pressure. They often release a pungent smell into the air as they vaporize.

There are many different types of organic solvents available, so research must be done to ensure that the proper organic solvent is being used for any given application. Alcohol is a popular type of organic solvent that is frequently used to kill bacteria and for light cleaning. Acetone is another common organic solvent, perhaps best known for removing nail polish.

Organic solvents are safe when used properly. However, the appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn when dealing with organic solvents. Long-term or acute exposure to organic solvents without proper protection can cause negative health effects. A large number of organic solvents are considered carcinogenic.

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