Glycerol (1,2,3-propanetriol, glycerin, glycerine) is a colorless, odorless, hygroscopic, oily liquid with a sweet taste. It is fully miscible with water, ethanol, methanol, acetone; practically insoluble in chloroform and diethyl ether, but soluble in their ethanol mixtures. Bieng dissolved in water glycerol is warming up and contracting (volume of mixture of glycerol and water is less than sum of their itself volumes). Treatment of glycerol with hydrogen halogenides or phosphorus halogenides results in glycerol mono- and dihalogenhydrins; with mineral and carboxylic acids it forms esters; being dehydrated yields to acrolein. Upon oxidation depending on oxidant and reaction conditions grycerol converts into glyceric acid CH2(OH)CH(OH)COOH, tartronic acid HOOCCH(OH)COOH, dihydrohyacetone HOCH2C(O)CH2OH, mesoxalic acid HOOCC(O)COOH. Glycerol is an important component of natural triglycerides (i.e. fats and oils) and of phospholipids.
as a byproduct when fats and oils are hydrolyzed to yield fatty acids or soaps;
from propylene using chlorohydrin technology. This method includes foru steps. At the first stage propylene is chlorinated to give allyl chloride which is converted into dichlorohydrins by treatment with hypochlorous acid HOCl. Then dichlorohydrins are dehydrochlorinated to form epichlorohydrin which is converts into glycerol by alkali hydrolysis.
from propylene through propylene oxide and allyl alcohol;
in the manufacture of nitroglycerine and explosives based on it (e.g. dynamite);
in the manufacture of alkyd resin, ester gums;
as a plasticizer for cellophane;
as a component of cosmetics, liquid soap, perfume and toothpaste as an emollient, humectant, solvent and lubricant;
as a sweetening component for foods;
as a source of nutrients for fermentation cultures in the production of antibiotics;
as a preservative in some pharmaceutical and biological preparations and in non-alcoholic extracts and tinctures;
as a component of antifreeze mixtures and a cryoprotectant in cryogenic process;
for the manufacture of polyols for flexible foams, and to a lesser extent rigid polyurethane foams;