Dipropylene glycol is typically a colorless, odorless liquid which possesses moderate viscosity. Dipropylene glycol has low volatility and is totally soluble in water. Dipropylene glycol is hygroscopic i.e. it attracts water from atmosphere. A distinctive feature of dipropylene glycol as compared to other types of glycols is its wider range of solvency. Particularly, the ability of dipropylene glycol to solubilize oil such as castor oil makes dipropylene glycol highly useful for a wide range of applications.
The two main grades of dipropylene glycol include regular grade and a high purity grade having low odor. The typical applications of regular grade dipropylene glycol include urethanes and paints and coatings while the major applications of high purity grade of dipropylene glycol include cosmetics, fragrance and personal care. The growing demand for dipropylene glycol from all such applications is expected to drive the global dipropylene glycol market in the next few years.
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The regular grade dipropylene glycol is mainly used as a reactive intermediate in the production of polyurethanes, high-performance unsaturated polyester resins and plasticizers. The regular grade dipropylene glycol peculiarly has high solvency, low toxicity, low evaporation rate, low odor and high viscosity, ultimately making it a widely preferred chemical intermediate in a variety of applications.
The major applications of regular grade dipropylene glycol include high-volume plasticizer, as a reactant in unsaturated polyurethane resins, addition of hydrolytic stability and flexibility, as an initiator in urethane polyols and as a polyol in certain rigid polyurethane systems, as reactive diluents in radiation cured resins and coatings, for cutting viscosity and allowing easier application. The other uses of regular grade dipropylene glycol mainly comprise hydraulic brake fluids, textile lubricants, cutting oils, printing inks, industrial soaps, coatings and solvents for chemicals used in agricultural applications such as insecticides.
The high-purity grade dipropylene glycol is specifically designed for odor-sensitive applications including fragrances and cosmetics. The high-purity grade dipropylene glycol is mainly a distilled product which has purity more than 99.5% as dipropylene glycol and is a liquid which is colorless, odorless, hygroscopic and water-soluble. The high-purity grade dipropylene glycol offers exceptional co-solvency for oils, water and hydrocarbons, has low skin irritation potential and minimal odor and possesses low toxicity with consistent isomer distribution.
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All these properties make high-purity grade dipropylene glycol an ideal choice in applications such as skin care products including lotions, creams and sun-care products, perfumes and colognes, deodorants or antiperspirants including roll-on and stick deodorants, shower and bath products, hair care products including conditioners, shampoos, coloring and styling products and shaving products including foams, creams, gels and after-shave lotions.
The developing economies in Asia Pacific region are expected to be the fastest growing market for dipropylene glycol in the next few years primarily due to growing demand for dipropylene glycol used in plasticizers and in polyurethane resins. Additionally, the demand for dipropylene glycol for textile lubricants is further anticipated to aggravate in India and China considering their extensive growth in textile chemical industry.
Moreover, the considerable growth in industrialization in these countries thereby increases demand for dipropylene glycol in printing inks, automotive industry and several other end-user industries. In addition to this, the developed regions across the U.S. and European countries are progressively recovering from the sluggish economic conditions and further boosting the global demand for dipropylene glycol. Considering this outlook, the demand for dipropylene glycol application products is expected to record an outstanding growth in the next few years.
Some of the major companies functioning in dipropylene glycol are Shell Global, LyondellBasell, The Dow Chemical Company, Huntsman Corporation, Dupont Tate & Lyle Bio Products LLC, Manali Petrochemicals Limited.