Propylene carbonate

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Propylene carbonate[1][2]
Propylene Carbonate V.1.svg
Sample of propylene carbonate.jpg
IUPAC name
Other names
Cyclic propylene carbonate
Carbonic acid propylene ester
Cyclic 1,2-propylene carbonate
Propylene glycol cyclic carbonate
1,2-Propanediol carbonate
Arconate 5000
Texacar PC
108-32-7 YesY
ChemSpider 7636 N
Jmol-3D images Image
PubChem 7924
UNII 8D08K3S51E YesY
Molar mass 102.09 g·mol−1
Appearance Colorless liquid
Density 1.205 g/cm3
Melting point −48.8 °C (−55.8 °F; 224.3 K)
Boiling point 242 °C (468 °F; 515 K)
Very soluble
Main hazards Xi
Safety data sheet MSDS by Mallinckrodt Baker
R-phrases R36
S-phrases S26 S36
NFPA 704
Flammability code 1: Must be pre-heated before ignition can occur. Flash point over 93 °C (200 °F). E.g., canola oil Health code 1: Exposure would cause irritation but only minor residual injury. E.g., turpentine Reactivity code 1: Normally stable, but can become unstable at elevated temperatures and pressures. E.g., calcium Special hazards (white): no codeNFPA 704 four-colored diamond
Flash point 132 °C (270 °F; 405 K)
455 °C (851 °F; 728 K)
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
 N verify (what isYesY/N?)
Infobox references

Propylene carbonate (often abbreviated PC) is an organic compound with the formula CH3C2H3O2CO. It is a carbonate ester derived from propylene glycol.[3] This colorless and odorless liquid is useful as a polar, aprotic solvent.[4] Propylene carbonate is chiral but is used exclusively as the racemic mixture.


Although many organic carbonates are produced using phosgene, propylene and ethylene carbonates are exceptions. They are mainly prepared by the carbonation of the epoxides:[4]


The process is particularly attractive since the production of these epoxides consumes carbon dioxide. Thus this reaction is a good example of a green process. The corresponding reaction of 1,2-propanediol with phosgene is complex, yielding not only propylene carbonate but also oligomeric products.


As a solvent[edit]

Propylene carbonate is used as a polar, aprotic solvent.[5] It has a high molecular dipole moment (4.9 D), considerably higher that those of acetone (2.91 D) and ethyl acetate (1.78 D).[1] It is possible, for example, to obtain potassium, sodium, and other alkali metals by electrolysis of their chlorides and other salts dissolved in propylene carbonate.[6]

Due to its high dielectric constant of 64, it is frequently used as a high-permittivity component of electrolytes in lithium batteries, usually together with a low-viscosity solvent (e.g. dimethoxyethane). Its high polarity allows it to create an effective solvation shell around lithium ions, thereby creating a conductive electrolyte. However, it is not used in lithium-ion batteries due to its destructive effect on graphite.[7]

Propylene carbonate can also be found in some adhesives, paint strippers, and in cosmetics.[8] It is also used as plasticizer.


Propylene carbonate product may be converted to other carbonate esters by transesterification as well (see Carbonate ester#Carbonate transesterification).[4]

In electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, propylene carbonate is doped into low surface tension solutions to increase analyte charging.[9]


Clinical studies indicate that propylene carbonate does not cause skin irritation or sensitization when used in cosmetic preparations, whereas moderate skin irritation is observed when used undiluted. No significant toxic effects were observed in rats fed propylene carbonate, exposed to the vapor, or exposed to the undiluted liquid.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Haynes, William M., ed. (2011). CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (92nd ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. ISBN 1439855110. 
  2. ^ Propylene carbonate at Sigma-Aldrich
  3. ^ WebBook page for propylene carbonate
  4. ^ a b c Hans-Josef Buysch (2005), "Carbonic Esters", Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, Weinheim: Wiley-VCH, doi:10.1002/14356007.a05_197 
  5. ^ Dieter Stoye (2005), "Solvents", Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, Weinheim: Wiley-VCH, doi:10.1002/14356007.a24_437 
  6. ^ J. Jorné; C. W. Tobias (1975). "Electrodeposition of the alkali metals from propylene carbonate". J. Appl. Electrochem. 5 (4): 279–290. doi:10.1007/BF00608791. 
  7. ^ Doron Aurbach (1999). Nonaqueous Electrochemistry. CRC Press. ISBN 978-0824773342. 
  8. ^ Record in the Household Products Database of NLM
  9. ^ Teo CA, Donald WA (May 2014). "Solution additives for supercharging proteins beyond the theoretical maximum proton-transfer limit in electrospray ionization mass spectrometry". Anal. Chem. 86 (9): 4455–62. doi:10.1021/ac500304r. PMID 24712886. 
  10. ^ "Environmental Profile for Propylene Carbonate". U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1998.