What are Glycol Ethers?

Glycol ethers are a versatile group of organic liquid solvents that are soluble in water and used in a variety of industrial and domestic applications. They are highly versatile as they are biodegradable, generally not toxic and have very little odour.

Glycol ethers are either made from ethylene oxide (known as e-series) or propylene oxide (known as p-series). Both series provide good long-term stability and shelf-life of products, improvements to water-based products wetting properties and can work at dilute concentrations.


How are they produced?

Glycol ethers are produced by reacting ethylene oxide (for the e-series) or propylene oxide (for the p-series) with an alcohol such as methanol, ethanol, propanol, butanol or hexanol. This process is carried out under adiabatic and isothermal conditions meaning it does not change the heat of the surroundings.


What are Glycol Ethers used for?

Glycol ethers started to be used in different applications during the 1930s but during the sixties and seventies, the range of its applications expanded even further including the usage in surface coatings. Without glycol ethers, many water-based coatings such as decorative consumer paints and car painting operations by manufacturers would not function.

Other important coating types and applications that use this solvent include wood, coil and anticorrosion coatings, adhesives and inks in screen printing, cleaning products, cosmetics, speciality chemical manufacture, leather goods manufacture and electronics manufacturing.

Common Types of Glycol Ethers

Butyl Glycol

Butyl glycol (BG) is an oily liquid with a unique sweet but mild odour. In industry, it is used primarily for paint production for similar reasons to butyl di glycol as well as in printing inks. For commercial uses, BG is used in many home cleaning products providing good cleaning power and the fresh odour we associate with these products.

Butyl Di Glycol

Butyl di glycol (BDG) is a clear, colourless organic compound that is miscible with many common solvents. The primary use of BDG is in the coatings and paint industries where it improves the flow of the products and extends their drying time. It can also be used in stove enamels to improve the properties without impacting drying time.

Butyl Tri Glycol Ether

Butyl Tri Glycol Ether (BTGE) is a clear, colourless liquid with low volatility, strong coupling characteristics and surface tension properties. It is primarily used as a solvent for oils, paint removers, soaps, greases as well as hydraulic oils and brake fluids.

Ethyl Di Glycol

Ethyl Di Glycol (EDF) is a colourless liquid with a characteristic odour that is miscible in water, alcohols, esters, ethers, and ketones. It is used as a part of many brake fluids due to its low viscosity at low temperatures and a low solidification point. As with other ester ethers it can also be used in printing inks and in cleaning agents.

Methyl Glycol

Methyl Glycol (MGL) is produced via the reaction of ethylene oxide with methanol, in water and in a high temperature and pressure environment. MGL is primarily used to dissolve a variety of different types of chemical compounds with applications such as a solvent for resins and cellulose acetate.


Solventis as your Glycol Ethers Supplier

Solventis is a leading bulk supplier and distributor of butyl glycol, butyl di glycol, butyl tri glycol ether and a number of other glycol ethers, in the UK, Europe and globally. As a company with offices in the UK and Belgium, we are proud to be able to offer a personal and efficient service, together with highly competitive prices.

As a result of our state-of-the-art facility in Antwerp, Belgium, we can guarantee the quality, efficiency, safety, and environmental awareness for our whole range of glycols that is second to none. Please contact us for more information on our range of glycols via our enquiry form or by phone on +44 (0)1483 203224.

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