Numerous Commercial Uses And Advantages Of Glycerine

Published: 05th June 2009
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A chemical with a molecular formula HOCH2-CHOH- CH2OH is known as glycerol or glycerine. It is one of the versatile chemicals and one of the safest in the planet. It is an organic compound containing three hydroxyl groups which gives it the name as a trihydric alcohol. This thick liquid has a sweet taste but has no odor and no color. It is found in core molecules of fats and oils. Carl Wilhelm Scheele discovered the compound in 1779 after heating a mixture of olive oil and lead oxide. This time, the main source of the compound is soap production, which releases glycerol as a by-product.

Glycerol or glycerine is not toxic. That is why it is safely used in extensive purposes from personal care products to medications to food. Since it is derived from oil or fat, it may have acquired some similar properties, but this compound has its unique set of characteristics that allows it to be used in applications when oil fails to do so. The viscous substance is used to make cough syrups and medicines for ear infection. It is also used in creams and lotions. In vanilla extracts and food flavorings the substance acts as an additive. When added to ice cream, for instance, it provides natural sweetness reducing the amount of sugar needed and at the same time improving its texture. In toothpastes, it creates a characteristic shine and smooth texture of the semi-solid paste. Skin moisturizing and conditioning lotions also contain the organic compound to promote skin hydration thereby keeping the skin soft and relieves chapping or scaling. Hair shampoos contain this compound to improve texture and maintain their colloidal characteristics.

In food, the chemical acts as a humectant. Raisins dipped in glycerol remain soft and moist in cereals. The same thing also applies with food wrapping papers and meat casings which remain damp and flexible. The chemical is also used to treat tobacco leaves to effect similar results, not to mention the sweetness of the tobacco when chewed is due to its presence.

You might be wondering how soaps become transparent. The chemical is added in soap mixture or allowed to remain in the mixture during the making to produce a sleek and transparent finished product. The making of different hard foam products rely on the chemical because of its trihydric alcohol molecular structure. These hard foams are useful in building constructions. They are also found in appliances like dish washers and refrigerators. Moreover, the biotechnological production of vinegar from ethanol requires the trihydric alcohol as a catalyst.

Oil is an excellent lubricant. But there are instances when oil cannot be used for this purpose. In automobile engines, oil cannot be used in pumps and bearings to transfer gasoline and other hydrocarbons, which dissolve in oil-based lubricants. Cork caskets, when exposed to oil grease, are kept by glycerol tough and flexible. The textile industry sees the chemical in various operations mainly as a lubricant. It is also mixed with sugar to produce non-drying oil.

The solid form of glycerin melts at 18 degrees Celsius. But the liquid form does not freeze at that temperature and must be brought to extremely low temperatures for freezing to occur. This physical property promotes lowering of the freezing point of liquids it is mixed with. Thus, it has antifreezing advantage. In fact, like ethylene glycol, which is known as an automobile antifreeze, glycerol is also known as a cryoprotectant. Explaining further, the chemical has been used to preserve human blood and sperm, such that it can be added to these life-consisting liquid mixtures. Small amounts of the chemical can allow red blood cells to be frozen for three years. A cryoprotectant such as the chemical under discussion inhibits crystal formation of water upon freezing. It is this expansion and crystal lattice formation in water molecules that destroys membranes of cells causing rupturing during freezing.

Jo is a content writer for 'ReAgent Chemical Services Ltd' (, a reputable UK stationed chemical producer that makes, carries and supplies a wide variety of high quality chemicals. If your business is seeking premium chemical product for instance Glycerine or has other industrial chemical requirements for uses like chemical fusion, analytical uses and cleaning then have a look at ReAgent Chemical Services Ltd.

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