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A colorless, viscous liquid surface active agent (Surfactant) with a pungent odor. Diethanolamine is used in liquid nonionic detergents, shampoos, cleaners, and polishes. Diethanolamine is also used as an Emulsifier, Dispersant, and Plasticizer in some polymers.

See also Monoethanolamine, and Triethanolamine.

Chemical structure


Synonyms and Related Terms

DEA; di(2-hydroxyethyl)amine; 2,2'-iminodiethanol; diethylolamine; bis(hydroxyethyl)amine


  • Combustible. Flash point = 134C.
  • Skin irritant.
  • Toxic by inhalation and ingestion.
  • ThermoFisher: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Miscible in water, methanol, acetone. Slightly soluble in ether.

Composition NH(CH2CH2OH)2
CAS 111-42-2
Melting Point 28.0 C
Density 1.088-1.092 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 105.2
Boiling Point 270 C

Resources and Citations

  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • 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 Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 3156
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Teri Hensick, contributed information, 1998

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