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Systematic name propan-1,2,3-triol
Other names

glycyl alcohol

Molecular formula C3H5(OH)3
Molar mass Molar mass::92.09382 g/mol
Appearance clear, colorless, solid
CAS number CAS number::56-81-5
Density and phase Density::1.261 g/cm3, ?
Solubility in water 100000 mg/L
Melting point Melting point::18.17ºC
Boiling point Boiling point::290ºC
Acidity (pKa) 14.15
Viscosity 1400 cP at 20ºC
MSDS Material safety data sheet
Main hazards  ?
NFPA 704

NFPA 704 svg.png

Flash point 160°C
R/S statement R: ?
S: ?
RTECS number  ?
Related compounds
Other anions  ?
Other cations  ?
Related ?  ?
Related compounds  ?
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Disclaimer and references

Glycerol is a colorless, odorless, and viscous fundamental key and building block of tryglycerides, lipids, and phospholipids. It is also known as glycerin, propane-1,2,3-triol, 1,2,3-propanetriol, 1,2,3-trihydroxypropane, glyceritol, and glycyl alcohol . It is not poisonous upon consumption or touch. In fact, as you will learn, glycerol is used in many of the products people use every day. It is a main component to the process of glycolysis. [1]


Physical Properties

There are many physical properties of glycerol. Glycerol's molecular weight is 92.09 grams. It has the melting point of 18.17ºC and the boiling point of(760mm Hg) 290ºC. Some of glycerol's other interesting properties is its density at (20ºC) of 1.261 g/cm3. Glycerol has the vapor pressure of 0.0025 mm Hg at 50ºC, O.195 mm Hg at 100ºC, 4.3 mm Hg at 150ºC, and 46 mm Hg at 200ºC. Its surface tension is 63.4 dyne/cm at 20ºC(100% glycerol)and its compressibility at(28.5ºC) is 2.1×10 MPa. Glycerol's vicsosity is 1499 c.p. at 20ºC (100% glycerol. There are a lot of intriguing facts about the properties of glycerol. For instance, its specific heat is 0.5779 cal/gm at 26ºC(99.94%glycerol, its heat of vaporization is 21060 cal/mole at 55ºC and 18170 cal/mole at 195ºC. A few more include its heat of formation and combustion wich is 159.6 Kcal/gm mole and 1662 KJ/mole respectively. Some other concrete verity about glycerol is its heat of fusion is 18.3 KJ/mole and its thermal conductivity is 0.29 w/ºK. This is all so captivating! Finally, glycerol's flash point is 177ºC and its fire point is 204ºC.

Chemical Properties

The chemical properties of glycerol are vast. Glycerol is indubitibly a reactive molecule. It absorbs water from the atmosphere at room temperature. It is soluble in water and in alcholhol. However, it is not soluble in ether. [2]

Natural Occurrences


There are many instances of naturally occurring glycerol. It is present in human, animal, and vegetable cells as lipids or complex fats. Glycerol rarely presents itself alone but usually combined with other fats and oils such as stearic, oleic, palmitic, and lauric acids as a triglyceride. Other substances naturally containing glycerol include coconut oil and palm kernal oil. [3]

Common Uses

Glycerol can be discovered in various places in an average daily routine. It is found in foods and beverages, cosmetics and personal care, tobacco, printing supplies, textiles, and medicine. [4]

Foods and Beverages

Glycerol is a food additive. In other words it can be added to foods and beverages to make it sweeter, without the extra carbs, and preservable. [5] Generally glycerol is in soft drinks, candy, cakes, meats, cheeses, and dry foods. To be more specific, it can be put in ice cream and low-calorie foods, confectionaries, extracts, and flavorings to make it sweeter or items such as dried fruits to preserve them. [6]

Cosmetics and Personal Care

Glycerol is also in many cosmetic or personal care items like soap, toothpaste, moisturizer, lotion, shaving cream, deoderant, and make-ups such as lipstick and mascara. [7] The reason why glycerol is used in so many soap products is simply because glycerol is a natural softener that extracts moisture from the air onto your skin. Also it can be naturally drawn from vegetable bases. So instead of using unknown or questionable chemicals on your skin, it can be used as a preferable alternative to clean skin. [8]


This compound is commonly used for making tobacco. It was useful in 1981 acting as a preservative. In more recent times, it has multiple uses for tobacco companies. Glycerol effectively prevents the formation of dust and fines as well as for an agent to carry over flavorants. Another way glycerol is used in tobacco is to prevent the smouldering of the wrapper after it has been put out. [9]

Printing Supplies

Another continued use of glycerol is in printing supplies like grease proof paper, printing ink, and food wrappers. The reason glycerol is so popularly used in these products is because of glycerol's odorless characteristics, its nontoxic properities, and its stablilty. Also, glycerol prevents paper shrinkage and contains useful alkyd resins. [10]


Surprising to some people, glycerol is widely used in the textile industry as a lubricant for food processing, to manufacture resin coating, to add flexibility to rubber and plastic, as a building block in manufacturing flexible foams, to manufacture dynamite, and to create components that are used in radios and neon lights. [11] It is also used for spinning, weaving, printing, dyeing and dressing cloth. Glycerol is also used in artificial production of leather, wool, and silk. [12]


Glycerol is commonly used in producing medications such as capsules, suppositories, ear infection remedies, anesthetics, cough remedies, lozenges, and gargles. [13] It is generally used as a medication for weight loss, exercise performance, water replacement during illnesses that include vomiting or diarrhea, glaucoma, the prevention of dehydration, to reduce pressure inside the brain because of stroke, meningitis, encephalitis, Reye's syndrome, pseudotumor cerebri, central nervous system trauma, and central nervous system tumors. Glycerol is also used for reducing brain volume for surgery and to prevent fainting. [14]

Other Uses

These are not the only known ways that glycerol is being used today. It is also useful in agriculture, the paint industry, the production of plastics, the photography industry, electrical and radio engineering, and the military industry. [15] Obviously, glycerol is extremely useful to modern day society in multifarious ways.



What is it?

Glycolysis is the intricate method of the body transforming glucose into pyruvate, providing food for each cell. This process is also referred to as the citric acid cycle. It is acknowledged as a thermodynamic reaction because it aquits free energy. The fianl outcome is the synthesis of adenosine-5'-triphosphate (ATP) and minimized nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH), two nucleotides that are factos of DNA. Also, this cyle is important for metabolism operations. [16]

How does it work?

Glycolysis doesn't require oxygen to work and takes place in the cell's cytoplasm (the cell substance between the nucleus and cell membrane). This process requires the usage of two ATP molecules (or adenosine triphosphates). There are ten individual steps to glycolysis and each one is critical. Some molecules that are needed to complete the process of glycolysis are two ATP molecules, two Pyruvic Acid molecules, two NADH molecules, and two water molecules. Glucose is a six carbon molecule containing hydrogen and oxygen. The first step of glycolysis is when an enzyme named hexokinase adds two phosphorous molecules to the originating glucose, turning into fructose. It's exceedingly awesome. The next step includes an enzyme named aldolase which literally takes the newly formed fructose and disects it into two different molecules of fructose. Next NAD+ helps the two separate molecules share electrons by acting like an oxidation agent (oxidation: rearranging molecules so they share electrons differently). NAD+ then becomes NADH+. This concludes to the existance of four ATP molecules. The previous steps are referred to as sugar oxidation and ATP formation. The ATP then continues on to be used as energy for your cells and you continue being alive. Glycolysis is a wonderful thing. [17]


  1. Glycerol. Biology Online. Web. Accessed 13 February, 2012. Author unknown.
  2. Properties of Glycerine Physical and Chemical Properties. Sevas Educational Society. Web. Accessed 13 February, 2012. Author unknown.
  3. Glycerol. Scribd. Web. 30, January, 2012. Author Unknown
  4. Common Uses For Glycerin. Lifestyle Lounge. Web. Accessed January 30, 2012. Author unknown.
  5. What is a Food Additive. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Web. Accessed January 30, 2012. Author unknown.
  6. Foods Containing Glycerin. eHow Health. Web. Accessed January 30, 2012. Author unknown.
  7. Common Uses For Glycerin. Lifestyle Lounge. Web. Accessed January 30, 2012. Author unknown.
  8. Soapers Choice. Columbus Foods. Web. Accessed January 30, 2012. Author unknown.
  9. Glycerine. Tobacco Products. Web. Accessed January 30, 2012. Author unknown.
  10. Terms, Technical Data, Properties, Performance. Glycerine: An Overview. Web. Accessed January 30, 2012. SDA.
  11. Common Uses For Glycerin. Lifestyle Lounge. Web. Accessed January 30, 2012. Author unknown.
  12. Application of Glycerine. BioDiesel Crimea. Web. Accessed January 30, 2012. Author unknown.
  13. Common Uses For Glycerin. Lifestyle Lounge. Web. Accessed January 30, 2012. Author unknown.
  14. Glycerol. WebMD. Web. Accessed January 30, 2012. Author unknown.
  15. Application of Glycerin. BioDiesel Crimea. Web. Accessed January 30, 2012. Author unknown.
  16. What is Glycolysis. Wisegeek. Web. Accessed 13 February, 2012. Author unknown.
  17. Glycolysis for Dummies. Author Stream. Web. Accessed 13 February, 2012. Author unknown.