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  • Ethanolamines were prepared in 1860 by Wurtz from ethylene chlorohydrin and aqueous ammonia. It was only toward the end of the 19th century that an ethanolamine mixture was separated into its mono, di and triethanolamine components. It was achieved by fractional distillation.
  • Ethanolamine, also called 2-aminoethanol or monoethanolamine (often abbreviated as ETA or MEA), is an organic chemical compound that is both a primary amine (due to an amino group in its molecule) and a primary alcohol (due to a hydroxyl group).
  • Ethanolamines, a viscous compound that smells like ammonia, are commonly found in biological tissues, and it also has numerous industrial applications.
  • Ethanolamine is commonly called monoethanolamine or MEA in order to be distinguished from diethanolamine (DEA) and  triethanolamine (TEA).
  • Ethanolamine is the second-most-abundant head group for phospholipids, substances found in biological membranes, and is also
    used in messenger molecules such as palmitoylethanolamide which has an effect on CB1 receptors.
  • Monoethanolamine is produced by reacting ethylene oxide with aqueous ammonia; the reaction also produces diethanolamine and
    triethanolamine.
  • Ethanolamine is widely applied to surfactant, emulsifier, and plasticizer, accelerant, curing ingredient and vesicant, and it could remove H2S and CO2 from refinery and natural gas streams. It is also important in the manufacture of herbicides, detergents, cosmetics, metal cleaners, and textiles.
  • Ethanolamine is often used for alkalinization of water in steam cycles of power plants, including nuclear power plants with pressurized water reactors. This alkalinization is performed to control corrosion of metal components.
  • Ethanolamines require care in handling. Skin or eye contact can result in chemical burns. Breathing vapors can result in
    irritation to the nose or throat. Ethanolamine product handling is complicated by their tendency to react with many other chemicals. They will react with carbon dioxide in the air.
  • Aqueous solutions of MEA (solutions of MEA in water) are used as a gas stream scrubbing liquid in amine treaters. For example, aqueous MEA is used to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from flue gas.
  • Monaethanolamine in contact with iron can from an unstable crystalline complex called tris(ethanolamino)-iron.
  • Ethanolamines consumption in China has been increasing very rapidly in the past few years with CAGR of 16.2% in 2000-2007.

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