Propylene Glycol

The Benefits and Uses of Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is a modern and safe coolant used in a variety of industries. Unlike its cousin, ethylene glycol, propylene glycol is recognized as safe for human consumption. In addition to its use within cooling systems, it can be found as an additive in common consumer products.

In fact, propylene glycol is so versatile and practical, you might not be aware of everything it can do! Let’s take a closer look at some of the uses this powerful coolant offers:

1. Brewing Beer

Propylene glycol is an ideal way to regulate temperatures and chill in the brewing process, protecting beer lines from the growth of wild yeast and bacteria. This reduces waste and helps ensure that the batch conforms to brewmaster specifications. Propylene glycol is also trusted for use in the beer purification process.

Propylene glycol is the only coolant used in brewing, and it must be of high quality. Other commercial coolants aren’t suitable for use in a brewery’s recirculation systems because of the high potential for equipment damage. To safeguard their investment, breweries must choose propylene glycol drums from a trusted source.

2. Winemaking

Winemaking is cooling intensive and calls on propylene glycol throughout the process: fermentation, maturation, and especially cold stabilization. It enables winemakers to improve the responsiveness of their cooling systems and prevent spoilage from potassium bitartrate buildup, which causes tartness.

Cold stabilization entails exposing the wine to temperatures close to freezing for a minimum of two weeks. Exposure must be carefully timed, as prolonged cooling or excessive temperatures can slow down wine’s natural aging process. 

3. Stabilizing Medication

Propylene glycol has two significant roles in modern medicine. First, it is used in a number of common intravenous and oral drugs, like phenytoin, diazepam, and lorazepam. The propylene glycol serves to raise the product’s weight and improve its uniformity without resorting to allergenic additives.

When processed and used correctly, propylene glycol can express natural desiccant properties that help remove excess moisture. This is a key factor in sustaining the shelf life of certain medicines and avoiding costly losses. It also expands the range of temperatures at which products can be safely stored.

4. Improving Food

Propylene glycol naturally offers a faint, slightly sweet taste. This can be useful in improving the taste of many foods, medications, and supplements. It also acts as a preservative in baked goods, prepared meals, baking mixes, candy, popcorn, and more.

Even when used in very small amounts, propylene glycol is highly effective as an emulsifier and texturizer. In other words, it not only helps make some of your favorite foods more flavorful but gives you a more enjoyable eating experience.

5. Protecting Cosmetics

One of the industries best known for avoiding “chemicals” uses propylene glycol on a regular basis. Propylene glycol from plant sources is quickly becoming a mainstay in premium cosmetics, even for brands that champion an organic approach such as Lush.

Nobody wants to see their expensive cosmetics get spoiled and end up in the trash. “Natural” makeup is especially vulnerable to this. It can go bad in a sealed container unless an appropriate preservative is included. Propylene glycol helps users avoid problems with clogged pores and bacterial growth, too.

All in all, propylene glycol is a powerful modern chemical making a positive impact in the commercial and industrial worlds. It has almost completely supplanted old-fashioned ethylene glycol formations that were hazardous and environmentally unsound. No matter what cooling application you have in mind, the odds are propylene glycol can help.


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