Metal oxides

  • The Versatile World of Glycerol: Properties, Uses, and Applications

What is glycerol? What are the properties of glycerine? Where can I buy glycerin for personal use? Is glycerol safe for consumption?


Glycerol, also known as glycerin or glycerine, is a colorless, odorless, and sweet-tasting viscous liquid. It is a polyol compound, meaning it contains multiple hydroxyl (OH) groups. The chemical formula for glycerol is C3H8O3.

Here are some key aspects of glycerol and its uses:

Chemical Structure: Glycerol is a trihydric alcohol, which means it has three hydroxyl groups. Its structure makes it soluble in water and hygroscopic, meaning it can absorb and hold water molecules.

Natural Sources: Glycerol is often found in natural fats and oils, both animal and vegetable. When these fats and oils are hydrolyzed, glycerol is released as a byproduct.

Production: Commercially, glycerol is produced through various methods, including saponification of fats, transesterification of triglycerides, and byproducts from biodiesel production.


Food and Beverages: Glycerol is used in the food industry as a sweetener, humectant (retaining moisture), and solvent. It is also used in the production of certain food additives.

Pharmaceuticals: Glycerol is used in pharmaceuticals for various purposes, including as a solvent, a sweetener, and as a component in some medications and topical preparations.

Cosmetics and Personal Care Products: Glycerol is a common ingredient in cosmetics and personal care items such as moisturizers, shampoos, soaps, and lotions due to its moisturizing properties.

Industrial Applications: Glycerol has applications in various industrial processes, such as in the production of explosives, antifreeze, and as a component in the manufacturing of certain plastics and resins.

Medical Applications: Glycerol is used in medical applications, such as in the preparation of certain intravenous (IV) medications and in some medical imaging procedures.

Humectant Properties: Glycerol's ability to attract and hold water molecules makes it a valuable humectant. This property is particularly useful in products that need to retain moisture, such as in skincare products and certain food items.

It's important to note that glycerol is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by regulatory authorities when used in accordance with established guidelines.

Formula: C3H8O3
Molecular Weight: 92.094 g/mol
Form: Colorless to brown-colored liquid
CAS Number: 56-81-5
EC Number: 200-289-5
E Number: E422 (thickeners)
Density: 1.261 g/cm³
Synonyms: glycerol, glycerin, Glycerine, PROPANE-1,2,3-TRIOL, 1,2,3-Propanetriol, Trihydroxypropane, Glyceritol, Glycyl alcohol, Propanetriol, Osmoglyn, Glysanin, Grocolene, Glyrol, Glycerinum, Ophthalgan, Vitrosupos, Dagralax, Optim, Star, Bulbold, Cristal

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The Versatile World of Glycerol: Properties, Uses, and Applications

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