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Acetone was first produced by alchemists during the late Middle Ages via the dry distillation of metal acetates (e.g., lead acetate, which produced "spirit of Saturn" (since the alchemical symbol for lead was also the astrological symbol for the planet Saturn)).Small amounts of acetone are produced in the body by the decarboxylation of ketone bodies.Acetone is used in a variety of general medical and cosmetic applications and is also listed as a component in food additives and food packaging and also in nail polish remover.Dermatologists use acetone with alcohol for acne treatments to peel dry skin. Common agents used today for chemical peels are salicylic acid, glycolic acid, 30% salicylic acid in ethanol, and trichloroacetic acid (TCA).When the part is removed from the chamber, the acetone component evaporates leaving a glassy-smooth part free of striation, patterning, and visible layer edges, common features in untreated 3D printed parts.
These products arise via an initial aldol condensation to give diacetone alcohol.
Acetone is often the primary component in cleaning agents such as nail polish remover.
Acetone is a component of superglue remover and easily removes residues from glass and porcelain.
As a heavy-duty degreaser, it is useful in the preparation of metal prior to painting.
It is also useful for high reliability soldering applications to remove rosin flux after soldering is complete; this helps to prevent the rusty bolt effect.