Mono propylene glycol (also known as propylene glycol, PG, propan1, 2diol and MPG) is a clear, colourless, and viscous liquid with a characteristic odour. It has the formula C3H8O, is soluble in water, and has hygroscopic properties. MPG is used across a wide range of industries as it has low toxicity, coupled with a freezing point which is depressed upon mixing with water.
Mono propylene glycol is produced from propylene oxide. The most common process is by the non-catalytic hydrolysis of propylene oxide in a high-temperature and high-pressure environment. The second method is the catalytic one, which can proceed at 150 °C, in the presence of ion exchange resin, or a small amount of sulphuric acid or alkali. It can also be produced from glycerol which is a bio-diesel by-product.
The demand for, and consumption of, mono propylene glycol is high with an estimated 1.2 million tonnes produced yearly by plants situated around the world.
USES FOR PROPYLENE GLYCOL:
- Making Diffuser oils (see below for details)
- For use in solar boilers / heaters as a heat transfer fluid. To use dilute the propylene glycol 1:1 with water.
- Non-toxic antifreeze and coolant for engines.
- Substitute for ethylene glycol and glycerol.
- A lubricant and antifreeze for hydraulic and brake systems.
- Monopropylene Glycol is used in the manufacture of synthetic alkyd resins found in paints, enamels and varnishes.
- Propylene glycol is used in making polyester compounds and as a solvent in the paint and plastics industries.
- As a solvent for dyes, resins and inks used in high speed printing presses.
- It is used to create artificial smoke or fog for theatrical uses.
- To regulate humidity in a cigar humidor.
- As a carrier for fragrance oils.
- As a coolant in liquid cooling systems.
- MPG is used as a coolant in ice skating rinks.
- Dehydrating fluid for use in the natural gas processing industry.
- In the manufacture of paintballs.
- As a solvent in photographic chemicals like film developers.
Industrial grade MPG also has a variety of uses but the main application is as an antifreeze and aircraft wing and runway de-icer. This is because the freezing point of MPG lowers upon mixing with water. It is also used in heat transfer liquids such as engine coolants.
It can also be used as a chemical intermediate in the production of high performance unsaturated polyester resins used in paints and varnishes. It is also an excellent solvent that is utilised in printing inks and it is also used in the manufacture of non-ionic detergents which are used in the petroleum, sugar-refining, and paper making industries. It can also be used in the cryonics industry and can be used as an additive in pipe tobacco as it prevents dehydration.
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