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Polyethylene glycol is used in a variety of pharmaceutical formulations. It finds application in Hewlett-Packard designjet printers as an ink solvent and a lubricant for the print heads. It is an important raw material for the manufacture of polyuretnae, PEG salts of lauric, oleic and stearic acids and latex.
Polyethylene glycols can act as effective solvents and low-cost phase-transfer catalysts by complexing with cations (see Appendix 2). Examples of reactions promoted by these species:
Nucleophilic displacements of benzyl halides: Synthesis, 184 (1977). Permanganate oxidations: J. Org. Chem., 43, 1532 (1978); Tetrahedron Lett., 3543 (1979). Dichromate oxidations; similar results to carcinogenic HMPA, and to crown ethers.
Good solvent for borohydride reductions: Tetrahedron Lett., 4581 (1979). Stereoselective reduction of alkynes to cis-alkenes using NaBH4 and a catalytic amount of PdCl2 in dichloromethane-PEG: J. Chem. Soc., Chem. Commun., 515 (1982).
Wacker oxidation of olefins to methyl ketones: Tetrahedron Lett., 26, 2263 (1985). Conversion of acids to peracids; see Potassium peroxydisulfate, A15310. Recyclable medium for rapid Baylis-Hillman reactions (see Ammonium bismuth citrate, A17003): Tetrahedron Lett., 45, 5865 (2004).
Liu, W.; Wang, Y.; Li, W.; Yang, Y.; Wang, N.; Song, Z.; Xia, X. F.; Wang, H. Polyethylene Glycol-400-Functionalized Dicationic Acidic Ionic Liquids for Highly Efficient Conversion of Fructose into 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural. Catal. Lett. 2015, 145 (4), 1080-1088.
Din, A. M.; Ahmad, M. A.; Hameed, B. H. Ordered mesoporous carbons originated from non-edible polyethylene glycol 400 (PEG-400) for chloramphenicol antibiotic recovery from liquid phase. Chem. Eng. J. 2015, 260, 730-739.
Hazard Statements: H227-H303-H315-H320-H333-H335
Combustible liquid. May be harmful if swallowed. Causes skin irritation. Causes eye irritation. May be harmful if inhaled. May cause respiratory irritation.
Precautionary Statements: P210-P233-P240-P241-P242-P243-P264b-P280-P302+P352-P304+P340-P305+P351+P338-P332+P313-P337+P313-P362-P374-P501c
Keep away from heat/sparks/open flames/hot surfaces. - No smoking. Keep container tightly closed. Ground/bond container and receiving equipment. Use explosion-proof electrical/ventilating/lighting/ equipment. Use only non-sparking tools. Take precautionary measures against static discharge. Wash face, hands and any exposed skin thoroughly after handling Wear protective gloves/protective clothing/eye protection/face protection. IF ON SKIN: Wash with plenty of soap and water. IF INHALED: Remove to fresh air and keep at rest in a position comfortable for breathing. IF IN EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do. Continue rinsing. If skin irritation occurs: Get medical advice/attention. If eye irritation persists: Take off contaminated clothing and wash before reuse. Fight fire with normal precautions from a reasonable distance. Dispose of contents/ container to an approved waste disposal plant