What is Mono Pentaerythritol?

Mono Pentaerythritol (also known as PETP; tetramethylolmethane, and THME) is a polyhydric alcohol that contains four primary hydroxyl groups.  It has the formula C5H12O4 and is a white, odourless, crystalline solid however it can also be a white, crystalline free-flowing powder.  It is moderately soluble in cold water, is freely soluble in hot water, and is slightly soluble in alcohol.

Its primary role in industry is as a chemical intermediate.

There are many grades of Pentaerythritol available commercially but Mono Pentaerythritol has the largest market share as it accounts for approximately 85% of worldwide sales.   It is composed of 98% pure Mono Pentaerythritol.

Mono Pentaerythritol

How is it produced?

Mono Pentaerythritol can be transported and delivered in a variety of ways.  It is available in 20-25 kg bags, 500kg and 1000 kg bags, and can also be transported in bulk in tank cars.  It has a specific gravity of 1.396 and a flash point of 240oCand it is stable under normal conditions.

Mono Pentaerythritol is not classified as dangerous for transport, but it should be used in a well-ventilated workplace and then should be stored in a cool and dry location.

How is it stored and distributed?

Mono Pentaerythritol is synthesized from the aldol condensation of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.  The aldehyde that is produced then undergoes a cross- Cannizzaro reaction where one molecule of pentaerythritose is reduced to pentaerythritol.  The raw pentaerythritol is then separated out, dissolved, and is then subjected to high temperature acid hydrolysis.  It is then purified in an active carbon bed, after which it is concentrated and crystallised.

At present, China is the largest producer of Pentaerythritol in the world.  The growth in production in China has occurred due to the strong demand of the local automotive and construction industries.

What is Mono Pentaerythritol used for?

The main commercial and industrial role for Mono Pentaerythritol is as a chemical intermediate as it is a basic material for polymer production.  It is mainly employed in the manufacture of alkyd resins and paints, where it enhances the drying speed, hardness, and the water resistance of these paints.

The second largest market for mono pentaerythritol is in the production of neopolyol esters for synthetic lubricants.  It ensures both the hydrolytic resistance, and the viscosity control, of these lubricants.

It is also employed in the preparation of polyvinyl chloride stabilisers, plasticisers, antioxidants, adhesives and sealants, varnishes and inks.  It is also used to make radiation-curing monomers, and rosin esters.

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