Ethylhydroxyethyl cellulose

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A cellulose ether with both an ethyl and a hydroxyethyl functional group substitution. Ethylhydroxyethyl cellulose (EHEC) has been produced commercially since 1945. It is available as both an organic soluble polymer (EHEC) and as a water-soluble polymer (Modocoll, Ethulose) The nonionic thermoplastic polymer is a white granular solid that is used as an emulsifier, stabilizer, thickener and film former in many types of solutions such as foods, cosmetics and paints. It is also used in silk-screen inks, rotogravure inks and protective coatings for wood, plastic and paper. EHEC is rarely used in conservation. The organic soluble type EHEC is not stable for long-term use (Feller and Wilt 1990). The water soluble type has at least intermediate stability and warrants further testing (Feller and Wilt 1990).

Synonyms and Related Terms

EHEC; ethylhydroxylethylcellulose; cellulose ethyl hydroxyethyl ether; etilhidroxietilcelulosa (Esp.); EHEC [Aqualon]; Ethulose [Chemaster]; Modocoll [Mo och Domsjo]



Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Soluble in cold water. Aqueous solutions can be diluted with alcohols and acetone with no precipitation.
  • Insoluble in hot water, hydrocarbons, alcohols, toluene, xylene.
  • pH of 2% solution = 6.0
  • CDH Fine Chemicals: SDS

Resources and Citations

  • R.Feller, M.Wilt, Evaluation of Cellulose Ethers for Conservation, in Research in Conservation Series, Getty Conservation Institute, 1990.
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Book and Paper Group, Paper Conservation Catalog, AIC, 1984, 1989
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 2014