Difference Wiki

Ethylene Glycol vs. Glycerol: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Published on December 16, 2023
Ethylene glycol is a toxic organic compound used in antifreeze, while glycerol is a non-toxic compound used in food, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.

Key Differences

Ethylene glycol, a diol, is primarily used in antifreeze and coolant formulations due to its low freezing point. Glycerol, a triol, is known for its hygroscopic nature and is widely used in food, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetic products for moisture retention.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 16, 2023
The toxicity of ethylene glycol makes it hazardous for human consumption, often requiring careful handling. In contrast, glycerol is non-toxic and safe for use in various consumer products, including food items and skin-care products.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 16, 2023
Ethylene glycol is utilized in industrial applications, such as in the production of polyester fibers and resins. Glycerol finds use in medical and personal care products due to its skin-friendly properties and as a sweetener in food products.
Huma Saeed
Dec 16, 2023
In terms of physical properties, ethylene glycol is a colorless, odorless liquid with a sweet taste, which contributes to its hazardous nature if ingested. Glycerol, also colorless and odorless, is recognized for its viscosity and sweet taste, making it suitable for culinary uses.
Harlon Moss
Dec 16, 2023
Environmental impact is another consideration, as ethylene glycol can be harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly. Glycerol, being biodegradable and non-toxic, poses less environmental risk.
Harlon Moss
Dec 16, 2023
ADVERTISEMENT

Comparison Chart

Primary Use

Antifreeze, Coolants
Food, Pharmaceuticals, Cosmetics
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 16, 2023

Toxicity

Toxic, hazardous for consumption
Non-toxic, safe for consumption
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 16, 2023

Industrial Applications

Polyester production, Industrial solvents
Medical, Personal care, Food industry
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 16, 2023

Physical Properties

Colorless, Odorless, Sweet tasting
Colorless, Odorless, Viscous, Sweet tasting
Harlon Moss
Dec 16, 2023

Environmental Impact

Potentially harmful if not disposed properly
Biodegradable, minimal environmental risk
Janet White
Dec 16, 2023
ADVERTISEMENT

Ethylene Glycol and Glycerol Definitions

Ethylene Glycol

A chemical with a low freezing point, making it suitable for deicing applications.
Ethylene glycol is used at airports for deicing planes.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 09, 2023

Glycerol

A component in pharmaceuticals, often used in cough syrups and elixirs.
Glycerol is used in cough syrups for its soothing effect.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 09, 2023

Ethylene Glycol

A diol used in the production of polyester fibers and resins.
Polyester fabrics are often made using ethylene glycol.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 09, 2023

Glycerol

A non-toxic triol used as a moisturizer in cosmetics and skin care products.
Glycerol is a common ingredient in lotions for its hydrating properties.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 09, 2023

Ethylene Glycol

A sweet-tasting, colorless liquid used in industrial solvents.
Ethylene glycol is also found in some hydraulic brake fluids.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 09, 2023

Glycerol

A food additive used for its sweetness and moisture-retaining qualities.
Glycerol is added to baked goods to keep them moist.
Huma Saeed
Dec 09, 2023

Ethylene Glycol

A toxic organic compound used in antifreeze and coolant solutions.
Ethylene glycol is the main ingredient in most car antifreeze products.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 09, 2023

Glycerol

A biodegradable substance used in eco-friendly products.
Eco-friendly soaps often contain glycerol.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 09, 2023

Ethylene Glycol

A hazardous substance requiring careful handling and disposal.
Ethylene glycol spills need to be managed with caution due to its toxicity.
Harlon Moss
Dec 09, 2023

Glycerol

A versatile compound used in the food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries.
Glycerol's versatility makes it a popular choice in multiple industries.
Harlon Moss
Dec 09, 2023

Glycerol

A syrupy, sweet, colorless or yellowish liquid triol, C3H8O3, obtained from fats and oils as a byproduct of saponification and used as a solvent, antifreeze, plasticizer, and sweetener and in the manufacture of dynamite, cosmetics, liquid soaps, inks, and lubricants.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 08, 2023

Glycerol

(organic compound) 1,2,3-trihydroxy-propane or propan-1,2,3-triol; a trihydric alcohol
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 08, 2023

Glycerol

A syrupy sweet liquid obtained as a by-product in the manufacture of soap from animal or vegetable oils and fats; it is used as an antifreeze, a plasticizer, and a food sweetener and in the manufacture of dynamite, cosmetics etc.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 08, 2023

Glycerol

Same as Glycerin.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 08, 2023

Glycerol

A sweet syrupy trihydroxy alcohol obtained by saponification of fats and oils
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 08, 2023

FAQs

Is ethylene glycol harmful to the environment?

Ethylene glycol can be environmentally harmful if not disposed of properly.
Harlon Moss
Dec 16, 2023

What are the uses of glycerol?

Glycerol is used in food products, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals.
Huma Saeed
Dec 16, 2023

Is ethylene glycol toxic to humans?

Yes, ethylene glycol is toxic and can be harmful if ingested.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 16, 2023

What is ethylene glycol used for?

Ethylene glycol is used in antifreeze, coolants, and industrial solvents.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 16, 2023

What are the physical properties of ethylene glycol?

Ethylene glycol is colorless, odorless, and has a sweet taste.
Harlon Moss
Dec 16, 2023

Can glycerol be ingested safely?

Yes, glycerol is non-toxic and safe for consumption.
Janet White
Dec 16, 2023

Is glycerol biodegradable?

Yes, glycerol is biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 16, 2023

What is glycerol commonly found in?

Glycerol is commonly found in lotions, baked goods, and cough syrups.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 16, 2023

Is ethylene glycol used in polyester production?

Yes, ethylene glycol is used in making polyester fibers and resins.
Janet White
Dec 16, 2023

What makes glycerol suitable for pharmaceutical use?

Glycerol's non-toxic nature and soothing properties make it suitable for pharmaceuticals.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 16, 2023

Can glycerol be used in hair care products?

Yes, glycerol is often used in hair care products for hydration.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 16, 2023

Can ethylene glycol be used in food?

No, ethylene glycol is toxic and should not be used in food.
Janet White
Dec 16, 2023

Why is glycerol used in food products?

Glycerol is used in food for its moisture-retaining and sweetening properties.
Harlon Moss
Dec 16, 2023

How does glycerol benefit skin care?

Glycerol helps in skin care by hydrating and protecting the skin.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 16, 2023

Are there any environmental concerns with glycerol?

Glycerol is environmentally friendly and poses minimal risk.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 16, 2023

Can ethylene glycol freeze?

Ethylene glycol has a low freezing point, which is why it's used in antifreeze.
Janet White
Dec 16, 2023

Is ethylene glycol found in household products?

Ethylene glycol can be found in some household cleaners and brake fluids.
Harlon Moss
Dec 16, 2023

How is glycerol used in cosmetics?

Glycerol is used in cosmetics as a moisturizer and to improve texture.
Harlon Moss
Dec 16, 2023

What precautions are needed when handling ethylene glycol?

Handling ethylene glycol requires care to avoid ingestion and skin contact.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 16, 2023

What industries rely heavily on ethylene glycol?

The automotive and textile industries rely heavily on ethylene glycol.
Janet White
Dec 16, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons