Glymes as versatile solvents for chemical reactions and processes: from the laboratory to industry
Glymes, also known as glycol diethers, are saturated non-cyclic polyethers containing no other functional groups. Most glymes are usually less volatile and less toxic than common laboratory organic solvents; in this context, they are more environmentally benign solvents. However, it is also important to point out that some glymes could cause long-term reproductive and developmental damage despite their low acute toxicities. Glymes have both hydrophilic and hydrophobic characteristics that common organic solvents lack. In addition, they are usually thermally and chemically stable, and can even form complexes with ions. Therefore, glymes are found in a broad range of laboratory applications including organic synthesis, electrochemistry, biocatalysis, materials, Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), etc. In addition, glymes are used in numerous industrial applications, such as cleaning products, inks, adhesives and coatings, batteries and electronics, absorption refrigeration and heat pumps, as well as pharmaceutical formulations, etc. However, there is a lack of a comprehensive and critical review on this attractive subject. This review aims to accomplish this task by providing an in-depth understanding of glymes' physicochemical properties, toxicity and major applications.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Organic chemist’s toolbox