Usage and description:
Methyl formate is used primarily to manufacture formamide, dimethylformamide, and formic acid. These compounds are precursors or building blocks for many useful derivatives.
Because of its high vapor pressure, it is used for quick-drying finishes and as a blowing agent for some polyurethane foam applications and as a replacement for CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs. Methyl formate has zero ozone depletion potential and zero global warming potential. It is also used as an insecticide.
A historical use of methyl formate, which sometimes brings it attention, was in refrigeration. Before the introduction of less-toxic refrigerants, methyl formate was used as an alternative to sulfur dioxide in domestic refrigerators, such as some models of the famous GE Monitor Top.