Glycerol also called glycerine in British English and glycerin in American English, is a simple triol compound. It is a colorless, odorless, viscous liquid that is sweet-tasting and non-toxic. The glycerol backbone is found in lipids known as glycerides. Because it has antimicrobial and antiviral properties, it is widely used in wound and burn treatments approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Conversely, it is also used as a bacterial culture medium. It can be used as an effective marker to measure liver disease. It is also widely used as a sweetener in the food industry and as a humectant in pharmaceutical formulations. Because of its three hydroxyl groups, glycerol is miscible with water and is hygroscopic in nature.
Although achiral, glycerol is prochiral with respect to reactions of one of the two primary alcohols. Thus, in substituted derivatives, the stereospecific numbering labels the molecule with a sn- prefix before the stem name of the molecule.
Industrial Applications :
Glycerin has important industrial applications, for example as a polymer building block in the production of alkyd resins and polyurethanes for use in paints, inks and coatings. Glycerine is also a raw material for the manufacture of many different types of chemical intermediate, including solvents, plasticizers and surfactants. The water-binding tendency of glycerin is exploited in the preparation of anti-static and antifogging additives.
Foods and Beverages :
In foods and beverages, glycerin functions variously as a humectant, solvent, preservative and sweetener. It is also used in skin creams, body washes, shampoos and soaps for its lubricating, moisturizing and clarifying properties. Due to its benign nature it can be safely ingested, and is used to sweeten and thicken cough syrups, elixirs and expectorants, toothpastes and mouthwashes. In liquid detergents, glycerin has an important role as viscosity regulator, solvent and clarifying agent.
It is used to add gentleness to personal care products. As a moisturizing ingredient, it is used in the production of face creams and masks, body ointments.
The use of glycerin for hair is popular — shampoos containing glycerin make hair silkier. It improves the quality of soap, softens the skin. Glycerin soap is suitable for people with sensitive skin. This soap is often made at home because it is good for keeping the skin fresh. At the same time the substance is good at absorbing moisture. It is worth taking into account when making any kind of product. Therefore, it is usually not recommended to use cosmetics with glycerin too actively.
Medical glycerin is a component used in the pharmaceutical and medical industries to improve the elasticity of various medicines and solutions. Glycerin is used in medicine in drugs intended to reduce irritation of the throat and oral mucosa (for example, in cough syrups).