What is Butyl Tri Glycol Ether?

Butyl tri glycol (also known as BTGE, butyl tri tetra, triethylene glycol butyl ether, butoxy triglycol and triglycol monobutyl ether) is a clear, colourless liquid with a mild odour and the formula C10H22O4 / CH3(CH2)3(OCH2CH2)3OH. It is part of a group of glycol ethers with low volatility and strong coupling properties. It is miscible in water and has surface tension properties, making it useful in household and industrial cleaners. 

Butyl Tri Glycol Ether

Technical Properties

Chemical and physical properties of butyl tri glycol:

Molecular Formula: C10H22O4 / CH3(CH2)3(OCH2CH2)3OH

Synonyms: BTGE, butyl tri tetra, butyltriglycol, butoxytriglycol, butyl tri tetra, butyl tri glycol, butyl triglycol, butoxy triglycol, triethylene glycol butyl ether, triglycol monobutyl ether, Dowanol tbat, butoxy triethylene glycol.

Cas Number: 143-22-6

Molecular Mass: 206.151809 g/mol

Flashpoint: 290 °F / 143 °C

Boiling Point: 532.4 °F / 278 °C

Melting Point: -22 °F/ -30.0 °C

Freezing Point: -31 °F/ -35 °C

Water Solubility: miscible

Density: 0.9890 g/cu cm at 20 °C

How is it produced?

The primary method of manufacturing butyl tri glycol is via reacting ethylene oxide with ethyl alcohol. This is done by vacuum distillation which separates and isolates the produced butyl tri glycol from the reaction.

Other methods of production include reacting of alcohols with ethylene oxide. Global consumption of butyl tri glycol ether is estimated at approximately 21,000 tonnes per year.

Handling, storage and distribution

Hazards and Safety

Butyl tri glycol has an NFPA health rating of 2, indicating that it can cause incapacitation or residual injury under emergency conditions. Short term exposure to the eyes and skin can cause irritation, dryness, and cracking.

An NFPA fire rating of 1 demonstrates that it will not ignite under ambient temperatures unless preheated. An NFPA instability rating of 0 shows that butyl tri glycol is stable underneath most conditions, including fire.

Full personal protective equipment should be worn when handling this product to prohibit contact with the skin, eyes, and throat. This includes gloves, masks, and Safety Goggles. In the case of a leak, respirators should be worn for protection against vapours. The leak should be prevented from reaching sewers, waterways and basements and washed away with water.

Storage and distribution

Butyl tri glycol can be stored and transported in stainless steel, mild steel, or carbon steel drums and/or tanks and must be kept in a well-ventilated area.  It is not classified as dangerous for any form of transport but is classed as an Irritant.  It has a flashpoint of 156 °C (closed cup) and a specific gravity of 0.985.

What is butyl tri glycol used for?

Industry Uses

Butyl tri glycol is used as a solvent for nitrocellulose, oils, paint removers, gums, soaps, dyes, grease, industrial cleaners, polish strippers, disinfectants, chlorinated rubber, wood paints, inks and levelling agents.

It is also used as a component in the base blend used in the manufacture of cutting and hydraulic oils, including hydraulic brake fluids, as a useful component in paint stripping formulations as it has low volatility, employed as a dye carrier in textile dyeing processes, as a coalescent for coatings, in the manufacture of plasticizers, as a dye carrier for textile dyes and as a solvent/intermediate for ester production.

Commercial Uses

Butyl tri glycol is found in many commercial products including de-icers, automotive care products, paints, inks, coatings, oils, greases, disinfectants and lubricants.

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