Chemical acetone

Acetone is manufactured from the basic raw materials of benzene and propylene. These materials are first used to produce cumene, which is then oxidised to become cumene hydroperoxide, before being split into phenol and its co-product, acetone.

Use as a chemical intermediate

Most acetone is consumed as an intermediate feedstock for acrylic plastics used for glazing, signs, lighting fixtures and displays, and for production of Bisphenol A (BPA) which, in turn, is used to manufacture polycarbonate and epoxy resins. Both polycarbonate and epoxy resins are used in many different industries and in countless items which we encounter every day.

Acetone is also used extensively in the manufacture of artificial fibres and as an intermediate in pharmaceuticals.

Use as a solvent

Acetone is one of the most widely used solvents in the world due to is combination of  high solvency and a high rate of evaporation. It can be found in many everyday products including paints, cleaning fluids, nail polish remover, and adhesives.

Acetone is a colourless, low boiling, easy pouring liquid with a characteristic odour. It is miscible in all proportions with water, alcohols, many hydrocarbons and other organic liquids. It has good solvent properties for vegetable and animal fats, cellulose, natural and synthetic resins and many other organic substances.

Acetone's listing as a non-volatile organic compound (VOC) in the US is increasing its use in coatings applications.

Download the Acetone technical data sheet

Our key strengths in acetone

  • Integrated production facilities for the manufacture of cumene and its conversion into phenol and acetone.
  • Logistics system capable of meeting customer needs in different regions for consistent product in deep sea vessel, barge, rail or tank truck quantities.
  • Long term commitment to the phenol/acetone sector.
  • Support for customers to help ensure their employees are given appropriate training in handling acetone and are aware of, and sensitive to, environmental issues.

More in Chemicals product portfolio


Phenol is used in the manufacture of a wide range of other chemical products including phenolic adhesives, polycarbonates and epoxy resins.


Nonene is employed as a plasticiser in PVC wiring and in the production of other chemical intermediates used in detergents, cleaners and lubricant antioxidants.