May irritate skin, eyes, respiratory system, and gastro- intestinal tract. Fumes cause tears.
METHYL ACRYLATE ignites readily when exposed to heat, flame or sparks. Offers a dangerous fire and explosion hazard. Reacts vigorously with strong oxidizing materials. Forms peroxides when exposed to air that may initiate spontaneous exothermic polymerization. Peroxide formation usually proceeds slowly. Added inhibitor retards polymerization. If the inhibitor is consumed during long storage, explosive polymerization may occur [MCA Case History No. 2033]. Also subject to strongly exothermic polymerization if heated for prolonged periods or contaminated.
Colorless volatile liquid with an acrid odor. Flash point 27°F. Vapors may irritate the eyes and respiratory system. Highly toxic by inhalation, ingestion and skin absorption. Less dense than water (0.957 gm / cm3) and slightly soluble in water, hence floats on water. Vapors heavier than air.
Wash the ester repeatedly with aqueous NaOH until free from inhibitors (such as hydroquinone), then wash it with distilled water, dry (CaCl2) and fractionally distil it under reduced pressure in an all-glass apparatus. Seal it under nitrogen and store it at 0o in the dark. [Bamford & Han J Chem Soc, Faraday Trans 1 78 855 1982, Beilstein 2 IV 1457.]
Air & Water Reactions
Highly flammable. Forms peroxides when exposed to air that may initiate spontaneous, exothermic polymerization. Peroxide formation usually proceeds slowly. Slightly soluble in water.