# Decomposition products of sodium acetate

I heated some sodium acetate to a high temperature (about 500 degrees celsius). Upon doing so, I could smell an irritating smell reminiscent of vinegar. I stopped then, assuming they were acetic acid vapors. Are they really acetic acid vapours, and if so, what is the remaining solid?

• A cursory Google search for the SDS for sodium acetate indicates that thermal decomposition can yield carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and sodium oxide. On the way to 500 $^{\circ}$C, acetic acid vapors are certainly released. Your solid might be $\ce{Na_{2}O}$. – Todd Minehardt May 8 '16 at 15:48

The fumes are likely to be acetic anhydride, as per this equation: $$\ce{2CH3COONa -> Na2O + (CH3CO)2O}$$ This smells like vinegar, and reacts with moisture in the air to give acetic acid.
This link states that sodium acetate decomposes on heating to produce a white solid i.e sodium oxide, $\ce{Na2O}$.