Glycolic Acid has one of the smallest organic molecules with both acid and alcohol functionality, resulting in unique chemical attributes. Occurring naturally in sugarcane, beets, grapes and fruits, Chemours synthesizes the product through a purpose built manufacturing process.
Glycolic Acid uses both the hydroxyl and carboxylic acid groups to form five-member ring complexes (chelates) with polyvalent metals. This complexing ability is useful in dissolution of hard-water scale and prevention of deposition, especially in cleaning applications where rinsibility is a factor. Glycolic Acid readily forms typical salts with active metals, metal oxides and bases.
Glycolic Acid undergoes typical oxidation reactions to give glyoxylic acid and oxalic acid, and reduction reactions with active metals to form acetic acid.
Glycolic Acid undergoes reactions with organic alcohols and acids to form esters. Computer simulations and laboratory studies of solvency suggest that the low molecular weight alkyl glycolic esters have unusual solvency properties and may be used as a substitute for n- and iso-propanol, ethylenediamine, phenol, m-cresol, 2-ethoxyethyl acetate (EE acetate), and ethyl and methyl lactate. Higher molecular weight alkyl esters can be used in personal care product formulations.
Glycolic Acid reacts with itself to form dimeric glycolide, head-to-tail polyester oligomers and long-chain polymers. Copolymers can be made with other alpha hydroxy acids like lactic acid. Polyester polymers gradually hydrolyze in aqueous environments at controllable rates, making them useful in biomedical applications such as dissolvable sutures and wherever controlled acid release is needed to reduce pH.
Glycolic Acid reacts as a typical organic acid with organic amines to form amides and amine salts that are useful as intermediates for synthesis of complex organic compounds.