Ethylene glycol is used as an intermediate in the production of polyesters and as an automotive antifreeze. Around 55% of world production is used in polyester fibres, 16% in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin, 15% in antifreeze, and the balance in other applications such as de-icing fluid and surface coatings. There are three grades of ethylene glycol; fibre grade, industrial grade and antifreeze grade.
Specific applications include its use as a heat-transfer fluid in aircraft and runway de-icing mixtures, to provide freeze-thaw stabilisation to latex coatings, to improve flexibility and drying time of oil-based paints containing alkyd resins, as a dehydrating agent for natural gas, in motor oil additives, and as an additive in the formulation of inks, pesticides, wood stains, adhesives, and other products. In explosive water-gels and slurries, it lowers the freezing point and acts as a coupling agent between water and the other components. High purity ethylene glycol is used as a solvent and suspending medium for ammonium perborate, the conductor in most electrolytic capacitors. Ethylene glycol is also used to make glycol ethers.
Ethylene glycol is harmful, and a chronic poison if ingested. It is combustible, but not flammable.
To find out more Ethylene Glycol Methodology March 2013