Propylene Glycol Ethers

Methoxy Propyl Acetate (PMA)

Methoxy propyl acetate

Methoxy propyl acetate (also known as PMA, 1-methoxy-2-acetoxypropane, or propylene glycol monomethyl ether-1,2-acetate) is a clear liquid that has limited miscibility with water.  It is a medium volatility solvent with a mild odour and has the formula C6H12O3.

Production

Methoxy propyl acetate is produced when ethylene, or propylene, oxide is reacted with alcohol.  This forms glycol monoethers which are then esterified with acetic acid to produce PMA.

The estimated global production of methoxy propyl acetate is between 300,000 and 500,000 tonnes annually.

Storage and distribution

Methoxy propyl acetate is generally distributed in 200 kg drums and should be stored in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area.  For transport purposes it is classified as packing group III, hazard class 3.  It has a specific gravity of 0.965 and a flash point of 42° C (closed cup).

Uses

There are several applications for methoxy propyl acetate.  The first is as a solvent as PMA has good solvent power for many resins and dyes.  It is used in dyes for furniture polish or wood stains, and in dye solutions and pastes for printing.  It is also used in processes that colour leather and textiles, and in ball-point pen pastes.

PMA can also be used as a coalescent in coatings, and is particularly suitable for coatings containing polyisocyanates.  It can also be used as a binder for core sands in foundries and is also utilised as a cleaning agent in the electronics industry.