Physical Properties of Hydroxyethyl cellulose


Hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC) is a non-ionic cellulose ether made through a series of chemical processes, with the natural polymer celluloses as raw materials. It is odorless, tasteless, and non-toxic in the shape of white to off-white powders or granules. It can be dissolved in water to form a transparent viscous solution. It has thickening, adhesion, dispersion, emulsification, film-formation, suspension, absorption, surface activity, salt tolerance, water retention, providing protective colloids and other properties. Hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC) can be used in building materials, paints industry, petrochemicals, synthetic resin, ceramic industry, pharmaceutical, food, textile, agriculture, cosmetics, tobacco, ink, papermaking and other industries.

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;

  1. 1.  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. The product is stable in viscosity and prevented from mildew. It enables the paint to have good can-opening effects and better leveling properties in construction.

Physical and Chemical Properties

Hydroxyethyl cellulose 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. The surface-treated Hydroxyethyl cellulose can be dispersed in cold water without agglomeration, but dissolution rate is slower, and generally it requires about 30 minutes. With heat or adjusting the pH value to 8-10, it can be rapidly dissolved.