Chemical Properties and Common Uses of Glycerin

Industrial Uses and Products Containing Glycerin

Glycerin is a versatile chemical that has numerous industrial applications. One of the most common uses of glycerin is in the production of soaps and cosmetics. It is used as a humectant, which means it helps to retain moisture in the skin. Glycerin is also used in the food industry as a sweetener and as a preservative to extend the shelf life of baked goods, confectionery, and processed foods.

Another major use of glycerin is in the production of explosives. It is a key ingredient in nitroglycerin, which is used to make dynamite. Glycerin is also used in the production of antifreeze, solvents, and as a component in some types of ink and printing dyes.

Other products that may contain glycerin include toothpaste, mouthwash, and pharmaceuticals such as cough syrups and suppositories. It is also used in the production of some types of plastics and as a lubricant in machinery.

Production of Glycerin

Glycerin is a byproduct of the soap-making process, which involves the hydrolysis of fats and oils. During this process, glycerin is separated from the fatty acids and can be purified for use in various industries. Additionally, glycerin can be produced through the hydrolysis of triglycerides, which are found in animal and vegetable fats and oils.

The production of glycerin can also occur through the fermentation of sugars, a process that is used in the production of biofuels. In this process, yeast is used to convert sugars into glycerin, which is then separated and purified for use.

Discovery and Commercial Availability of Glycerin

Glycerin was first discovered in 1779 by a Swedish chemist named Carl Wilhelm Scheele. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that glycerin became commercially available. At this time, it was primarily used in the production of soaps and candles.

During World War I, glycerin became an important ingredient in the production of explosives, which led to an increase in demand for the chemical. Today, glycerin is produced on a large scale and is used in a


Glycerin, also known as glycerol, is a colorless, odorless, and sweet-tasting liquid that is commonly used in the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries. It is a trihydroxy alcohol that is derived from animal fats and vegetable oils through the process of hydrolysis. Glycerin is a versatile compound that has a wide range of applications due to its unique chemical properties.

Technical Properties

One of the most notable technical properties of glycerin is its ability to attract and retain moisture. This property, known as hygroscopicity, makes glycerin a popular ingredient in moisturizers, lotions, and other skincare products. Additionally, glycerin has a low toxicity level, making it safe to use in a variety of applications. It is also soluble in both water and alcohol, which makes it an ideal ingredient in many different types of formulations.

Chemical Formula

The chemical formula for glycerin is C3H8O3. It is a triol, which means that it has three hydroxyl groups (-OH) attached to its carbon backbone. Glycerin has a molecular weight of 92.09 g/mol and a melting point of 17.8°C. Its boiling point is 290°C, and its density is 1.261 g/cm3.

Key Properties

Glycerin is a highly stable compound that does not react with most other chemicals. It has a high boiling point and a low freezing point, which makes it useful in a variety of applications. Glycerin is also an excellent solvent, which means that it can dissolve a wide range of substances. Its low volatility makes it ideal for use in products that require a long shelf life.

  • Boiling Point: 290°C
  • Density: 1.261 g/cm3
  • Molecular Weight: 92.09 g/mol
  • Melting Point: 17.8°C

In conclusion, glycerin is a versatile compound that has a wide range of applications in various industries. Its unique chemical properties, such as its ability to attract and retain moisture, make it an ideal ingredient in skincare products. Glycerin’s low toxicity level and solubility in both