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General
  • Ethylene oxide is a highly reactive chemical, an intermediate in the production of a wide range of derivative chemicals, which have applications in a huge number of industrial and consumer products.
  • Ethylene oxide is a flammable, colorless gas. Ethylene oxide is produced by reacting ethylene with oxygen in the presence of a silver catalyst.
  • The Ethylene oxide is highly reactive chemical and can react specially in the presence of a catalyst with compounds such as water, alcohols, ammonia, amines, and organic acids.

Process

  • Ethylene Oxide sterilization is mainly used to sterilize medical and pharmaceutical products that cannot support conventional high temperature steam sterilization - such as devices that incorporate electronic components, plastic packaging or plastic containers.

  • On line process mass spectrometry is a critical element in the efficient operation of modern ethylene oxide (EO) production processes. Fast and accurate analysis of feedstock and effluent streams are needed to maximize conversion efficiency, catalyst selectivity ratios and carbon balances.

Application

  • The major use of ethylene oxide is in the production of ethylene glycol. The primary end use for ethylene glycol is in the production of polyester polymers.
  • Ethylene oxide (EtO) is widely used by health care institutions as a sterilant because of its potency in destroying pathogens.
  • Ethylene oxide is used mainly as a chemical intermediate in the manufacture of textiles, detergents, polyurethane foam, antifreeze, solvents, medicinal, adhesives, and other products.
     

Market

  • Ethylene oxide is a chemical intermediate key to the manufacture of many important products used in a wide range of downstream markets.

  • About 60 percent of the ethylene oxide production in the United States and Japan is converted into ethylene glycol. Less than 40 percent of the ethylene oxide production in Western Europe is converted to ethylene glycol. Western Europe has become more reliant on low cost ethylene glycol supplies from the Middle East.

Report

  • A million tons of EO is produced yearly and is used as a raw material for various chemical substances such as epoxy resin.

  • Chemical industry statistics indicate that about 900 tons of EO is used annually for sterilization in medical institutions. Of the fifteen EO accidents reported in Japan, six have involved sterilization work for medical purposes.

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