I have heard Polyethylene Glycol is derived from Ethylene Glycol, so was doing some research to see how they differ and found this.

Now this states that:

Polyethylene glycol is produced from the reaction between ethylene oxide and water, ethylene glycol or ethylene glycol oligomers.

As I understand it ethylene glycol is made from ethylene oxide and thus I assume that means PEG can be derived from either, is that what the above statement is saying? Though I'm not sure how ethylene glycol oligomers come into play here.

What I'm trying to work out, is there any difference in the PEG depending on what it is derived from or does it come out exactly the same?

If so, what is the purpose of deriving it from one or the other? Different uses? Safety elements? Human consumption?

I have also read that the molecular weight in turn determines the characteristics of each type or category of PEG.

With that in mind and the difference in what PEG is derived from, does the PEG differ at all depending on what it is used in? (Food, Medicine, Cosmetics, Vaccines etc)

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The main reason why alternative routes are used to produce polymers is that they give different results (eg the polymer chain length). Sometimes alternative routes can be used to give the same polymer and the choice is purely economics or convenience. Whatever the source, the polymer will be graded to meet the requirements of specific use by a variety of techniques. $\endgroup$
    – matt_black
    Commented Mar 16, 2021 at 12:07


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