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  #1  
Old 02-17-2008, 01:45 PM
Brambo Brambo is offline
 
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Question MEK vs Acetone

What is the difference between Acetone and MEK. I have read in several discussions about fiberglass work where some people use acetone and others use MEK as a cleaner/thinner.

Bill Rambo
RV-7A
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  #2  
Old 02-17-2008, 02:06 PM
CESSNADON CESSNADON is offline
 
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The MEK is more agressive than Acetone. Both are not to be breathed in any amounts and wear solvent resistant gloves when using them.....and Flammable
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  #3  
Old 02-17-2008, 02:23 PM
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az_gila az_gila is offline
 
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Exclamation WEST and Acetone...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brambo View Post
What is the difference between Acetone and MEK. I have read in several discussions about fiberglass work where some people use acetone and others use MEK as a cleaner/thinner.

Bill Rambo
RV-7A
If you are using the WEST products....

The WEST Epoxy User's Manual seems to prefer acetone....

....lacquer thinner, acetone or other appropriate solvent....

...but I guess MEK might fall under the "other appropriate solvent" category...

http://www.westsystem.com/frames/tier1/usingepoxy.htm

gil A
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  #4  
Old 02-17-2008, 04:16 PM
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chrispratt chrispratt is offline
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FWIW: My understanding has been that MEK and Acetone are essentially the same except for the speed with which they evaporate. Both are nasty over a long period of time so I suggest wearing gloves and have good ventilation, e.g., don't use in closed rooms, at least not for big jobs.

Chris
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  #5  
Old 02-17-2008, 06:55 PM
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az_gila az_gila is offline
 
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Unhappy Equally bad for you...

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrispratt View Post
FWIW: My understanding has been that MEK and Acetone are essentially the same except for the speed with which they evaporate. Both are nasty over a long period of time so I suggest wearing gloves and have good ventilation, e.g., don't use in closed rooms, at least not for big jobs.

Chris
Chris... good point....

I went to the MSDS and they both look equally bad...

MEK

Emergency Overview
--------------------------
DANGER! EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE LIQUID AND VAPOR. VAPOR MAY CAUSE FLASH FIRE. HARMFUL OR FATAL IF SWALLOWED. HARMFUL IF INHALED OR ABSORBED THROUGH SKIN. AFFECTS CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM. CAUSES IRRITATION TO SKIN, EYES AND RESPIRATORY TRACT.

---------------------------------
Health Rating: 2 - Moderate (Life)
Flammability Rating: 3 - Severe (Flammable)
Reactivity Rating: 1 - Slight
Contact Rating: 2 - Moderate
Lab Protective Equip: GOGGLES & SHIELD; LAB COAT & APRON; VENT HOOD; PROPER GLOVES; CLASS B EXTINGUISHER
Storage Color Code: Red (Flammable)
---------------------------------

Potential Health Effects
----------------------------------

Inhalation:
Causes irritation to the nose and throat. Concentrations above the TLV may cause headache, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, and vomiting. Higher concentrations may cause central nervous system depression and unconsciousness.
Ingestion:
May produce abdominal pain, nausea. Aspiration into lungs can produce severe lung damage and is a medical emergency. Other symptoms expected to parallel inhalation.
Skin Contact:
Causes irritation to skin. Symptoms include redness, itching, and pain. May be absorbed through the skin with possible systemic effects.
Eye Contact:
Vapors are irritating to the eyes. Splashes can produce painful irritation and eye damage.
Chronic Exposure:
Prolonged skin contact may defat the skin and produce dermatitis. Chronic exposure may cause central nervous system effects.
Aggravation of Pre-existing Conditions:
Persons with pre-existing skin disorders or eye problems or impaired respiratory function may be more susceptible to the effects of the substance.

ACETONE

Emergency Overview
--------------------------
DANGER! EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE LIQUID AND VAPOR. VAPOR MAY CAUSE FLASH FIRE. HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED OR INHALED. CAUSES IRRITATION TO SKIN, EYES AND RESPIRATORY TRACT. AFFECTS CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM.

---------------------------------
Health Rating: 2 - Moderate
Flammability Rating: 3 - Severe (Flammable)
Reactivity Rating: 0 - None
Contact Rating: 3 - Severe
Lab Protective Equip: GOGGLES & SHIELD; LAB COAT & APRON; VENT HOOD; PROPER GLOVES; CLASS B EXTINGUISHER
Storage Color Code: Red (Flammable)
---------------------------------

Potential Health Effects
----------------------------------

Inhalation:
Inhalation of vapors irritates the respiratory tract. May cause coughing, dizziness, dullness, and headache. Higher concentrations can produce central nervous system depression, narcosis, and unconsciousness.
Ingestion:
Swallowing small amounts is not likely to produce harmful effects. Ingestion of larger amounts may produce abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Aspiration into lungs can produce severe lung damage and is a medical emergency. Other symptoms are expected to parallel inhalation.
Skin Contact:
Irritating due to defatting action on skin. Causes redness, pain, drying and cracking of the skin.
Eye Contact:
Vapors are irritating to the eyes. Splashes may cause severe irritation, with stinging, tearing, redness and pain.
Chronic Exposure:
Prolonged or repeated skin contact may produce severe irritation or dermatitis.
Aggravation of Pre-existing Conditions:
Use of alcoholic beverages enhances toxic effects. Exposure may increase the toxic potential of chlorinated hydrocarbons, such as chloroform, trichloroethane.
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  #6  
Old 02-17-2008, 09:29 PM
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Acetone is cheaper, so that's what I use.
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  #7  
Old 02-17-2008, 10:03 PM
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fl-mike fl-mike is offline
 
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MEK is a "hotter" solvent. Note in the MSDS sheet that MEK will cause damage to the central nervous system with prolonged exposure. It's pretty nasty stuff.

Acetone is used for nail polish remover and is used by dermatologists as a skin degreaser. Obviously not as toxic as MEK, but I wouldn't be using it as a drink mixer either.

I use acetone or lacquer thinner if possible and only grab the MEK if the others won't cut it, so to speak.
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  #8  
Old 02-18-2008, 03:49 AM
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rzbill rzbill is offline
 
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Default Too Late

Quote:
Originally Posted by fl-mike View Post
... MEK will cause damage to the central nervous system
MEK can't do more damage. We're already building and airplane in the garage aren't we??

Seriously though, if given the choice, I'd use acetone. I believe it is higher on the solvents list that MEK, meaning acetone will disolve more compounds. Water, alcohol, acetone, ect I think is the starting order from high towards lower. Don't flame me if this is in error. I've used too much MEK in my life.
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Last edited by rzbill : 02-19-2008 at 07:08 PM. Reason: Added solvent list comment
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  #9  
Old 02-18-2008, 05:17 AM
rtry9a rtry9a is offline
 
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by az_gila View Post
Chris... good point....

I went to the MSDS and they both look equally bad...

Compared to what? Acetone and MEk are both benign (relatively nontoxic) solvents, except for their high flammability rating. MEK is the better solvent as far as cutting epoxy/proseal goes. Both are excellent degreasers. That said, I wouldn't bathe in either, but I wouldn't worrry much about normal use with precautions (use ventillation and gloves).
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  #10  
Old 02-18-2008, 05:29 AM
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plehrke plehrke is offline
 
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Default Look on the ingrediant list

Look on the list of ingrediants on what ever it is you are trying to use the solvent on. If it is Acetone based than use acetone, if it MEK based then the best sovent is MEK, if water based then water will work best.
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