What is Iso Butanol ?

Iso butanol is a primary alcohol and an organic compound with a molecular formula of (CH3)2CHCH2OH.  It is a colourless, flammable liquid with a characteristic sweet, musty smell that is used predominantly in agrictural chemical formulations.  It only has limited miscibility in water, however is easily soluble in regular solvents such as ethers and alcohol.  Iso butanol is highly flammable with a flash point between 26 – 29º C.

Iso Butanol

How is Iso Butanol Produced?

Iso butanol is produced in the carbonation of propylene.  There are two methods in the industrial manufacturing of iso butanol.  The first is the hydroformylation of propylene which generates a mixture of normal and isobutyraldehydes which are then hydrogenated into separate alcohols.  The second method, which is less common, is to use reppe carbonylation to create iso butanol.  Iso butanol can also occur naturally as product of the fermentation of sugars and other carbohydrates.

Storage and Distribution of Iso Butanol

A chemical trader would have a bulk petrochemical storage facility to maintain the product.  Storage is normally in a cool, dry and well ventilated facility away from oxidising agents.  Iso butanol should be kept out of direct sunlight, heat and open flames.  Solvents such as iso butanol should be stored in drummed containers such as isotanks made of stainless steel, aluminium or carbon steel.

A bulk solvent exporter would normally distribute this solvent in bulk vessels or tank trucks.  For transportation purposes, iso butanol is classed as a flammable liquid with a fire hazard rating of 2.  A full bulk chemical distributor would export the solvent throughout regions such as the UK, Europe, Africa and America.  This product is a packing group 3.

What is Iso Butanol used for?

The majority of iso butanol production is converted into derivates (esters) for use as a solvent in the coatings industry.  It is very suitable for acid-curable lacquers and baking finishes.  It can also be used as a derivate in the manufacturing of plastics and rubber mixtures.  Other major applications include paint solvent, varnish remover, floor polishes, cleaning agents, stain removal, solubiliser in the textile industry, additive in gasoline, additive in de-icing fluids, dehydrating agent, mobile phase in thin layer chromatography, feedstock productions of ethers/acrylates and anti-corrosion inhibitors in engine oils.  The main end user markets are the coatings, plastics, rubber, cleaning, textiles and motor industries.

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