Just like methyl cellulose, the hydroxyethyl cellulose is a derivate of cellulose with a wide array of practical uses. In essence, the hydroxyethyl cellulose is attained by exposing the pure cellulose, which is not water soluble at first, to sodium hydroxide and combining the result of this chemical reaction with ethylene oxide. Next, by substituting the hydrogen particles associated with the basic groups of hydroxyls with groups of hydroxyethyl chemists convey the cellulose its solubility. It is important to note that the procedure of synthesizing hydroxyethyl cellulose as well as the substance itself have undergone thorough testing through which it has been proven that they do not present any toxicity for either plant or animal life. In fact, the substance is completely biodegradable and will shatter in the basic water and carbon particles.
The Characteristics of Hydroxyethyl Cellulose
The pure hydroxyethyl cellulose is in powder form, which can come in different white shades. The basic solubility of the hydroxyethyl cellulose is dependent on the value of the Degree of Substitution, meaning that the more elevated the DS number is, the more soluble the substance will become. While the max DS number, very much like methyl cellulose is 3, studies have shown that for optimal results it should revolve around 2.5.
The exact formula for the ethyl hydroxyethyl cellulose would look like [C6H7O2 (OH)x (OC2H5)y [O(CH2CH2O)mH]z]n, considering that n stands for the degree of polymerization, y being the DS for ethyl and the sum between m and z refers to the molar hydroxyethyl substitution. These properties allow mixing hydroxyethyl cellulose in a wide variety of viscosities, which grants the substance a high level of versatility. It is easy to understand why this material has been employed in a wide array of industries, from healthcare to pharmaceutics and anything in between.
The Practical Uses of Hydroxyethyl Cellulose
The applications associated with the hydroxyethyl cellulose in the pharmaceutical industry come from the ability of thickening and lubricating certain solutions. Consequentially, those who are experiencing dryness of the eyes or mouth due to certain issues associated with the lachrymal glands or saliva glands will be able to get relief using artificially synthesized solutions. Furthermore, digestive tract related issues can also be ameliorated with the help of hydroxyethyl cellulose. It is important to note that intensive testing performed have revealed that during the transit, the hydroxyethyl cellulose did not modify its composition nor did it provoke any side effects.
The cosmetic industry has also successfully used hydroxyethyl cellulose in a wide array of consumption items. Similar to the pharmaceutical industry, the testing performed prior to obtaining the FDA safety recognition have determined that hydroxyethyl cellulose does not present any mutagenic or carcinogenic properties. In addition, it does not interact negatively with the skin and it is not on the allergenic list. However, the effectiveness in boosting the consistency of cosmetics is similar to the methyl cellulose.
Furthermore, hydroxyethyl cellulose has shown great potential in providing paint the necessary consistency by properly redistributing the substances in its composition. The same thing goes for the construction industry, where it is employed in enhancing the composition of mortar or cement. At this point, it is also important to note that films that contain hydroxyethyl cellulose among the ingredients will be thoroughly resistant to staining and degradation related to petroleum based products and oils.
Considerations on Purchasing Hydroxyethyl Cellulose
As you may have imagined, the popularity and wide array of applications of the hydroxyethyl cellulose compelled many manufacturers to include it in their line of products. However, while it is true that the hydroxyethyl cellulose in itself is safe, that does not stand as a guarantee for the entire composition of the cosmetic, medication or any other item that includes the aforementioned substance. Therefore, checking out the FDA seal of approval or the approbation from the authority in charge of regulating that particular line of products is essential.
Cellulose derivates have been providing various industries with the means of improving their items of consumption for many years. The main advantage associated with this type of synthesized chemicals, in addition to their effectiveness, comes from the fact that they are safe to use and their toxicity level is inexistent. In addition, hydroxyethyl cellulose, methyl cellulose as well as other cellulose derivates can be considered environmentally friendly substances, since they are biodegradable.