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A colorless, viscous liquid that is used commercially in many applications. Ethanolamines are used in nonionic detergents, and as solvents in dry cleaning. Ethanolamines are hygroscopic and are used as humectants to soften hides and to condition wool. Ethanolamines are used as corrosion inhibitors because they are an effective scavenger for sulfur containing gases. The soaps of ethanolamines are used in shampoos, as surfactants and as emulsifiers. See also diethanolamine, and triethanolamine.

Synonyms and Related Terms

MEA; ethanolamine; colamine; 2-aminoethanol; 2-hydroxyethylamine

Chemical structure


Other Properties

Miscible in water, methanol, acetone. A 10% solution has a pH of 9.

Composition HOCH2CH2NO2
CAS 141-43-5
Melting Point 10.3
Density 1.0117
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 61.08
Boiling Point 170.8+

Hazards and Safety

Combustible. Flash point = 85C.

Skin contact causes irriation and burns. Ingestion and inhalation are toxic.

Mallinckrodt Baker: MSDS

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 3772