Glycol ethers are excellent solvents for many types of applications. The combination of an alcohol and an ether functional group in the same molecule provides unique solvency characteristics with both polar and non-polar properties. This surfactant-like structure gives glycol ethers the ability to couple unlike liquid phases and be miscible in a broad range of hydrophilic and hydrophobic solvents.
From electronics to coatings and cleaners, glycol ethers offer a wide range of properties to meet the ever-changing needs of the marketplace. Glycol ethers are used in many applications because of their ability to lower surface tension in aqueous systems, as well as to penetrate and soften soils.
In cleaning formulations, they are widely used to aid the removal of greasy soils, to aid in solubilizing other components in the cleaner formulation, and to improve the storage stability of the formulations. In high solids solvent-borne coatings, high solvency allows glycol ethers to be used to reduce viscosity while minimizing VOCs.
In waterborne coatings, glycol ethers are excellent coalescent agents, and their unique hydrophobe/lipophobe balance allows for a broad range of coalescent efficiencies for different resins. They are also used as dye carriers in the textile, leather and printing industries and as solvents for insecticides and herbicides. For reactive and more hydrophobic systems, glycol ether esters and methyl capped glycol di-ethers offer stability and high solvency.