Tripropylene glycol or TPG is a mixture of isomers. Isomers are compounds wherein atoms with the same chemical composition are arranged in a different manner. It is a colorless liquid with negligible odor and moderate viscosity. TPG is completely soluble in water and is hygroscopic in nature (it attracts water from atmosphere). TPG consists of nine carbon, 20 hydrogen, and four oxygen atoms. TPG is a by-product of the manufacture of monopropylene glycol. At high temperature and pressure, water is added to propylene oxide, which results in the formation of mono propylene glycol (90%) and mixture of propylene glycol and tripropylene glycol (10%). Excess of water can be removed by passing the mixture through evaporators and drying towers.
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In terms of grade, tripropylene is of two types: tripropylene glycol regular grade and tripropylene glycol acrylate grade of high purity. It is used as a chemical block in the production of polyurethane foam. TPG can also be used as a solvent in different applications. It is used as varnish remover, cleaning formulation for hard surface, anti-freezing agent, carburetor fuel additive, ingredient in emulsifiers, plasticizers, hydraulic fluids; and disinfectant in cosmetics and cooling media. It is also employed in the oil penetration process. High-purity tripropylene glycol acrylate can be used as a raw material for the production of printing inks, varnishes, and paints in the radiation cure industry. It is typically reacted with acrylic acid to form tripropylene glycol diacrylate. TPG products are stored using ultraviolet, visible, or electron-beam radiations. Tripropylene glycol is primarily used in acrylate applications, polymer production, in solvent lubricants as textile soaps. Commercially, TPG can be used as an intermediate chemical in the manufacture of polyurethane, printing inks, textile lubricants, and latex paints. Rarely, TPG is used in a limited number of personal care products.
TPG is not a hazardous chemical. It is harmful to neither humans nor the environment. Eye contact with TPG may lead to slight irritation; however, skin contact may not lead to irritation. Inhalation of TPG is unexpected, due to its low vapor pressure. It has low toxicity when swallowed; however, consumption in higher amount can lead to injury. The key driving factor for the TPG market is different applications of TPG. Tripropylene glycol acrylate grade have several advantages such as good finish quality, compact plant size, good energy efficiency, and excellent speed processing. Also, it does not require any post-curing and it has low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. There are certain precautionary measures to be taken. TPG should be used only with proper ventilation and contact with skin, eyes, and clothes should be avoided. It should be kept closed in a container. Washing hands thoroughly after the use of TPG is required.
Europe and North America are dominant regions in the global tripropylene glycol market. The market is driven by major usage of TPG in industrial and commercial sectors. In terms of demand, the U.S. leads the global tripropylene glycol market. In The U.S., growing environmental concerns and emergence of new, domestic manufacturers of bio-based propylene glycol have shifted the consumers’ interest toward using eco-friendly chemicals. The market in Asia Pacific is expected to witness tremendous growth during the forecast period, due to expansion of pharmaceuticals and cosmetics industries in countries such as China. Rest of the World held minimum share in the global tripropylene glycol market in the last few years. However, this scenario is anticipated to change during the forecast period, due to growth of the industries in the region. The market in RoW is likely to witness positive growth in the next few years.
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Some of the key players in the global tripropylene glycol market are Dow Chemical Company, BASF SE, LyondellBasell Industries N.V., Archer Daniels Midland Company, and Parchem Fine & Specialty Chemicals.