Vinyl acetate is an organic compound with the formula CH3COOCH=CH2. A colorless liquid with a pungent odor, it is the precursor to polyvinyl acetate, an important polymer in industry. It can be polymerized, either by itself to make polyvinyl acetate or with other monomers to prepare copolymers such as ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), vinyl acetate-acrylic acid (VA/AA) and polyvinyl chloride acetate (PVCA). Due to the instability of the radical, attempts to control the polymerization via most 'living/controlled' radical processes have proved problematic. However, RAFT (or more specifically MADIX) polymerization offers a convenient method of controlling the synthesis of PVA by the addition of a xanthate chain transfer agent.
Vinyl acetate undergoes many of the reactions anticipated for an alkene and an ester. Bromine adds to give the dibromide. Hydrogen halides add to give 1-haloethyl acetates, which cannot be generate by other methods because of the non-availability of the corresponding halo-alcohols. Acetic acid adds in the presence of palladium catalysts to give ethylidene diacetate, CH3CH(OAc)2. It undergoes transesterification with a variety of carboxylic acids. The alkene also undergoes Diels-Alder and 2+2 cycloadditions.
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