What are Glycol Ethers?

Glycol ethers are a versatile group of organic liquid solvents that are soluble in water and are used in different industrial and domestic applications. A glycol ether could be either an E-series or a P-series, both providing good long-term stability and shelf-life of products, improvements to water-based products’ wetting properties, abilities to work at dilute concentrations and have very little odour.

We supply and distribute butyl diglycol, butyl glycol, butyl poly glycol, butyl triglycol, ethyl diglycol and triethylene glycol monoethyl ether, methyl diglycol and methyl glycol across the UK, Europe, USA, Africa, The Middle East and Asia.

We are also stockists and distributors of glycols and propylene glycol ethers.

How are they produced?

Glycol ethers are produced by reacting ethylene oxide (EO) or propylene oxide (PO) with an alcohol such as Methanol, Ethanol, Propanol, Butanol or Hexanol. This process is carried out under adiabatic and isothermal conditions.

Equivalent acetate ester forms can be produced by esterification of glycol ethers with acetic acid; there are 30 or more possible combinations that can exist with these products.

How are they stored?

No unusual problems occur with the storage of glycol ethers which means heated storage is not required. They have relatively low freezing points and are very stable organic liquids except for DOWANOL EPh and PPH which have a freezing point below 55° F (13°C).

At normal storage temperature, most glycol ethers do not present a significant flammability hazard as vapour pressures of glycol ethers are low. DOWANOL PM, PnP, and PMA are the most volatile glycol ether products which have flash points of 88°F, 118°F, and 108°F respectively.

DOWANOL glycol ethers and acetates and blends of DOWANOL should use storage tanks that are constructed of mild steel, stainless steel, or carbon steel. Aluminum and alloys of aluminum storage vessels should be avoided. DOWANOL products affect plastic tank linings so these should not be used.

What are Glycol ethers used for?

Glycol ethers started to be used in different applications during the 1930s but during the sixties and seventies, the range of its applications expanded even further including the usage in surface coatings. Without glycol ethers, many water-based coatings such as decorative consumer paints and car painting operations by manufacturers would not function.

Other important coating types and applications that use this solvent include wood, coil and anticorrosion coatings, adhesives and inks in screen printing, cleaning products, cosmetics, speciality chemical manufacture, leather goods manufacture and electronics manufacturing.

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