What is Butyl Glycol Acetate?

Butyl Glycol Acetate (also known as 2-butoxyethyl acetate; ethylene glycol butyl ether acetate; and 2-butoxyethanol acetate) has the chemical formula C8H16O3, and is a clear, colourless to pale yellow liquid.  It has a mild and pleasant ester odour and is only sparingly soluble in water but is miscible with many common organic solvents, for example, alcohols, ketones, aldehydes, ethers, glycols, and glycol ethers.  It is this solvent power, combined with its’ low volatility, that sees Butyl Glycol Acetate employed in many branches of industry.

Butyl Glycol Acetate

How is Butyl Glycol Acetate Produced?

The first stage in the production of Butyl Glycol Acetate is to react ethylene oxide with anhydrous n-butyl alcohol.  The product of this is ethylene glycol butyl ether which is then reacted with acetic acid, acetic anhydride, or acetic acid chloride, to form ethylene glycol butyl ether acetate, otherwise known as Butyl Glycol Acetate.

How is it stored and distributed?

Butyl Glycol Acetate is stable under standard conditions and has a specific gravity of 0.9422 and a Flash point of 71.1o C (closed cup).  It should be stored in a cool, well-ventilated area that is away from all possible sources of ignition, and the container should be tightly sealed until ready for use.

Butyl Glycol Acetate is usually transported in carbon steel, or stainless steel, drums or in tank cars.  It is not regulated for transport but is Flammable and should also be labelled as Xn, as it is Harmful when ingested. 

What is Butyl Glycol Acetate used for?

Butyl Glycol Acetate is a chemical that has good solvent power and it is this degree of solvency that sees Butyl Glycol Acetate employed in industry.  The main use for it is in the coatings industry where it improves the gloss and flow of coatings that are baked at temperatures of 150-200 oC.  It also improves the brushability and flow of cellulose nitrate and cellulose ether lacquers, and of paints formulated from chlorinated binders.  Butyl Glycol Acetate is also a good solvent for urethane finishes and is a film coalescing aid for polyvinyl latex acetate.

Butyl Glycol Acetate also has applications in the printing industry where it is a component of flexographic, gravure, and screen-printing inks.  This is because of the slow evaporation rate of Butyl Glycol Acetate which makes it ideal for use in these specialty printing inks.

It is also found in in ball pen pastes, and in dyes that are employed in furniture polishes and wood stains, and in dyes used to print and colour textiles.

Butyl Glycol Acetate is also employed in the cleaning industry where it is a component in some ink and spot removal formulations.

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