Ethylene Glycol: Antifreeze

Gabriel Baldassarra


Ethylene glycol is an organic compound primarily used as a raw material in the manufacture of polyester fibers and fabric industry, and polyethylene terephthalate resins used in bottling

Ethylene Glycol is a clear,sweet, slightly viscous liquid that boils at 198°C (388.4°F). Its most common use is as an automotive antifreeze. A mixed solution of ethylene glycol and water boils at 129 °C (264.2 °F) and freezes at −37 °C (−34.6 °F), serving as an excellent coolant in automotive radiators, which also makes it very poisonous.


Ethane-1,2-diol C2H602
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Molecular: Covalent

Ethylene Glycol is Covalent because it is involved with sharing of elections, not transferring. Ethylene Glycol is a liquid which also makes it covalent because most Covalent compounds are liquid.


In the two Carbons perspectives, carbon is creating two bonds. One with oxygen and one with hydrogen, creating a bent shape.

In the two oxygens perspectives, Oxygen is creating four bonds. Two with hydrogen and two with carbon, creating a tetrahedral shape


Ethylene Glycol is a polar substance. Polar substances will dissolve in other polar substances, and that non-polar substances will dissolve in other non-polar substances. Polar substances will not dissolve non-polar substances. Glycol when combined with water offers a wider operating temperature range than either fluid used by itself. Ethylene glycol is the most prevalent glycol used in coolant based on functionality, cost and availability. Depending on the application and climate, an engine coolant may be based on water only if an extended operating temperature range is not required.

Common uses of Ethylene Glycol

Antifreeze is mainly used for protecting units from freezing damage. Antifreeze is used as a heat transfer fluid. It is used in many things for example it is used in HVAC chillers and also in solar water heaters. There are certain chemical elements that are added to the water to help with reducing the freezing point so that it can be at the lowest temperature. This temperature is what the unit will be most likely to handle. It is also helpful in protecting the unit from corrosion.

Antifreeze helps the freezing point when you mix it with water. But it also helps with the boiling point as well. So antifreeze can also be called anti-boil. It is used in car engines because it works so well as a heat transfer fluid. When it used in the cars engine people call it engine coolant because that is exactly what it does to the engine.

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Ethylene Glycol and its Physical and Chemical properties:


Solubility - Soluble because it is covalent and covalent can dissolve in H2O.

Colour - Clear and colourless

Boiling Point - 198 °C high melting point because it is a very big molecule

Melting point- -12.9 °C low melting point because Ethylene glycol is used to prevent over heating

Molecular weight - 62.07 g/mol

Slightly viscous

Has a sweet scent


Ethylene Glycol is combustible because the compound contains Oxygen, Hydrogen and Carbon

Ethylene Glycol reacts with water to dilute its self

Ethylene Glycol is neutral on the Ph Scale


Ethylene Glycol is a toxic liquid that helps cool down auto motives. THe benefits are that it prevents over heating of machines units and cars. As much as it prevents over heating, it can also help with freezing. Ethylene Glycol can prevent cars from smoking and as well as catching fire which is a tremendous benefit.

If consumed, Ethylene Glycol can have a huge effect on reproduction and development in humans, but this is from large doses of consumption. It can also trigger kidney failure as well as severe poisoning. If you are exposed to ethylene glycol, many factors will determine whether you will be harmed. These factors include the dose (how much), the duration (how long), and how you come in contact with it. You must also consider any other chemicals you are exposed to and your age, sex, diet, family traits, lifestyle, and state of health.

Improperly disposed antifreeze can flow into waterways where it can kill fish and other animals. It can seep through the soil and into the groundwater.

Two ounces of ethylene glycol antifreeze can kill a dog, one teaspoon can be lethal to a cat, and two tablespoons can be hazardous to children.

According to the Annual Reports of the American Association of Poison Control Centers covering 1991 to 1994, about 3,400 poisonings related to ethylene glycol occur each year with about 20% of these incidents reported among children under six

Safety and handling Ethylene Glycol properly

The biggest way to make sure Ethylene Glycol is handled carefully is ensuring no spills. Also, recycling wasted Ethylene Glycol instead of throwing it down the drain.

Distillation units heat the antifreeze and separate the water from the ethylene glycol. Through condensation, contaminants end up in a sludge that has to be disposed of as hazardous waste, and the solution is made into new antifreeze. Most distillation occurs off-site and generally produces higher quality antifreeze than filtration.

Capture all antifreeze drained from radiators and the engine block and store in a sturdy, leak proof container with a secure lid. Do not contaminate antifreeze with engine oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, hydraulic fluid, gear oil, solvents, or fuels.