Hydroxy Ethyl Cellulose (HEC)


Definition: It is the product of some or all of the hydrogens on the hydroxyl group in the cellulose replaced by the hydroxy ethyl, with Good film properties and transparency.


Hydroxyethyl Cellulose is a white or light yellow fibrous or powdery solid, tasteless and nontoxic, prepared from the alkaline cellulose and ethylene oxide (or chlorine ethanol) by etherification, and belongs to non-ionic soluble cellulose ethers. Owing to good thickening, suspending, dispersing, emulsifying, film-forming, water-retaining and providing protective colloid properties, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose has been widely used in oil exploitation, coating, building, medicine, food, textile, papermaking, polymerization and other fields.


English Name: Hetastarch

English Aliases: Hydroxyethyl Cellulose; Hydroxyethyl cellulose ether; Hydroxyethyl ether cellulose; Natrosol; Natrosol 240JR; Natrosol 250 H; Natrosol 250 HHR; Natrosol 250 M; Natrosol L 250; Natrosol LR; HEC;

CAS NO.:9004-62-0

Molecular Formula:C2H6O2·x


Hydroxy Ethyl Cellulose and CarboxyMethylHydroxyEthyl Cellulose (CMHEC)

Hydroxy Ethyl Cellulose and CarboxyMethylHydroxyEthyl Cellulose (CMHEC)

 Hydroxy Ethyl Cellulose (HEC)



It is soluble in both cold and hot water, but under normal circumstances does not dissolve in most organic solvents. When the pH value is within the range of 2-12, the change in viscosity is small, but if beyond this range, the viscosity will decrease.


Important Properties

Hydroxy ethyl cellulose can be used as a non-ionic surface active agent. In addition to thickening, suspending, adhesion, emulsifying, film-forming, dispersing, water-retaining and providing protective colloid properties, but also has the following properties.


1. Hydroxyethyl Cellulose is soluble in hot or cold water, does not precipitate by heat or boiling, and enables it to have a wide range of solubility and viscosity characteristics, as well as non-thermal gelation;

2.  It’s non-ionic itself and can coexist with a wide range of other water-soluble polymers, surfactants, and salts, a fine colloidal thickener for the solution containing a high concentration of electrolytes;

3. Its water retention capacity is twice as that of methyl cellulose, and it has better flow-regulating property;

4. Compared with the recognized methyl cellulose and hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose has the worst dispersion capacity but the strongest protective colloid.


Nature and Stability

Hydroxyethyl Cellulose is unstable at room temperature and pressure, so avoid moisture, heat, and high temperature. It has thickening, suspending, adhesion, emulsifying, dispersing, and water-retaining properties, so can prepare the solution of different viscosities. It has exceptionally good salt solubility to dielectrics, which allows the aqueous solution to contain high concentrations of salts but keep stable.