Methyl Ethyl Ketone or MEK, also known as Butanone, is an organic compound with the formula CH3C(O)CH2CH3. This colorless liquid ketone has a sharp, sweet odor reminiscent of butterscotch and acetone. It is produced industrially on a large scale, and also occurs in trace amounts in nature.
Methyl Ethyl Ketone dissolves many substances and is used as a solvent in processes involving gums, resins, cellulose acetate and nitrocellulose coatings and in vinyl films. For this reason it finds use in the manufacture of plastics, textiles, in the production of paraffin wax, and in household products such as lacquer, varnishes, paint remover, a denaturing agent for denatured alcohol, glues, and as a cleaning agent. Butanone is also used in dry erase markers as the solvent of the erasable dye.
MEK is the precursor to methyl ethyl ketone peroxide, a catalyst for some polymerization reactions.