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Ruther, T.; Müller, M.; Bonrath, W.; Eisenacher, M. The Production of Isophorone. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 01 December 2023).
Ruther T, Müller M, Bonrath W, Eisenacher M. The Production of Isophorone. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed December 01, 2023.
Ruther, Timm, Marc-André Müller, Werner Bonrath, Matthias Eisenacher. "The Production of Isophorone" Encyclopedia, (accessed December 01, 2023).
Ruther, T., Müller, M., Bonrath, W., & Eisenacher, M.(2023, March 17). The Production of Isophorone. In Encyclopedia.
Ruther, Timm, et al. "The Production of Isophorone." Encyclopedia. Web. 17 March, 2023.
Peer Reviewed
The Production of Isophorone

Isophorone is a technically important compound used as a high-boiling-point solvent for coatings, adhesives, etc., and it is used as a starting material for various valuable compounds, including isophorone diisocyanate, a precursor for polyurethanes. For over 80 years, isophorone has been synthesized via base-catalyzed self-condensation of acetone. This reaction has a complex reaction mechanism with numerous possible reaction steps including the formation of isophorone, triacetone dialcohol, and ketonic resins. This review provides an overview of the different production processes of isophorone in liquid- and vapor-phase and reviews the literature-reported selectivity toward isophorone achieved using different reaction parameters and catalysts.

catalysis self-condensation acetone isophorone base-catalyzed
In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the isophorone (IP) production at the Hilbernia AG production site in Herne (Germany), which today belongs to the Evonik AG [1][2], this review provides a detailed overview of the current state of science of the product IP, its applications, its production methods, and reviews the catalytic research for its synthesis.
The technical importance of IP is justified by its use as a solvent and starting material for several chemical processes, and due to its possibility to be synthesized from acetone (Ace) [3][4][5][6]. Ace is the coproduct of the phenol production, the cumene process, with a global Ace production output of 7.8 Mio. tons in 2020 [7]. Although processes for the synthesis of IP from Ace were known before 1960, the major production of IP began in 1962 in West Germany [1][2][8]. Today, there are mainly two production methods for IP, a liquid- and a vapor-phase process. The estimated annual production volume exceeds 100,000 t/y [6] and the market is expected to further grow in the future [6][9][10].


  1. Evonik-60 Years Isophorone Chemistry. Available online: (accessed on 30 October 2022).
  2. Evonik Industries, A.G. Damit der Lack Nicht ab Ist: Isophoron. Available online: (accessed on 28 October 2022).
  3. Schmitt, K. Neuere Acetonchemie. Chem. Ind. 1966, 18, 204.
  4. Matyschok, H. Preparation, properties, and applications of isophorone. Wiad. Chem. 1973, 27, 311.
  5. Salvapati, G.S.; Ramanamurty, K.V.; Janardanarao, M. Selective catalytic self-condensation of acetone. J. Mol. Catal. 1989, 54, 9–30.
  6. Guan, X.; Liu, X.; Li, G.; Dong, P.; Wang, Z.; Zhao, G. Production, Market and Application prospect of Isophorone. Chem. Technol. Mark. 2005, 5–8.
  7. Drönner, J.; Hausoul, P.; Palkovits, R.; Eisenacher, M. Solid Acid Catalysts for the Hock Cleavage of Hydroperoxides. Catalysts 2022, 12, 91.
  8. Braithwaite, J.K. Imaging Technology to Lanthanides. In Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, 4th ed.; Wiley: New York, NY, USA, 1995; Volume 14, pp. 485–506.
  9. Isophorone Market by Applications (Paints and Coatings, Printing Inks, Adhesives, Artificial Leather, Agrochemical, Composite), and Region (North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, South America, Middle East & Africa): Global Forecast to 2030. Available online: (accessed on 19 December 2022).
  10. Isophorone Market: Isophorone Market Analysis By Product Type (Liquid Condensation & Solid Heterogeneous Catalytic Condensation) By End-Use and By Region–Global Market Insights 2022 to 2032. Analysis of Isophorone Market Covering 30 + Countries Including Analysis of US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Nordics, GCC Countries, Japan, Korea and Many More. Available online: (accessed on 19 December 2022).
Subjects: Chemistry, Applied
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Online Date: 17 Mar 2023