With sodium ethylate in ethyl acetate solution it forms the sodium derivative of benzoyl acetone, from which benzoyl acetone, C6H5.CO.CH2.CO.CH3, can be obtained by acidification with acetic acid.
It can be prepared by the reduction of phenyl propiolic acid with zinc and acetic acid, by heating benzal malonic acid, by the condensation of ethyl acetate with benzaldehyde in the presence of sodium ethylate or by the so-called "Perkin reaction"; the latter being the method commonly employed.
Geuther, who showed that the chief product of the action of sodium on ethyl acetate was a sodium compound of composition C6H903Na, which on treatment with acids gave a colourless, somewhat oily liquid of composition C6H1003.
The substance is best prepared by drying ethyl acetate over calcium chloride and treating it with sodium wire, which is best introduced in one operation; the liquid boils and is then heated on a water bath for some hours, until the sodium all dissolves.
Wanklyn have shown that pure ethyl acetate free from alcohol will not react with sodium to produce aceto-acetic ester.