Ethylene oxide is a flammable, colorless gas above 51.3 degrees Celsius.
Ethylene oxide has been modified since the early 1900s. It was originally made by reaction of etyhlene cholorohydrin with base. In recent years, it has been made by catalytic oxidation of ethylene. In the year 2000, 8.4 billion pounds were produced in the United States. Its principle use is in the manufacturing of ethylene glycol and higher alcohols which are important in products such as automobile antifreeze, making explosives, and hydraulic fluids. It is also used as a pharmaceutical intermediate in the synthesis of choline, for example, and as a ripening agent for fruits. Additionally, it is applied as a sterilizing agent in medicine. Ethylene oxide is a colorless gas that can condense at low temperatures into a mobile liquid. It is also miscible in all proportions with water, alcohols, ethers, and most organic solvents.
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