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Glycerin


Glycerin

Glycerin is commonly called glycerol or glycerin. Glycerin is a sweet-tasting alcohol, which is colorless and odorless. It becomes a gummy paste when frozen, although freezing it can only be achieved at very low temperatures. It melts at 18 degrees Celsius and boils at 290 degrees Celsius. Its chemical formula is C3H8O3. It is miscible in water and alcohol. However, it does not mix with oil. It is an excellent solvent. In fact, there are substances that dissolve better in glycerol than in water or alcohol.

The compound absorbs water from the air. This is why it is known as a hygroscopic substance. Suppose you leave a container of pure glycerin or glycerol in open air, it will become diluted as it attracts water molecules. According to a speculation, a drop of this liquid in the tongue can raise a blister because it would draw out water from deep into the tongue tissue. But this remains a clever speculation.

The sweet-tasting alcohol is found in many skin moisturizing lotions and creams because of the water-retaining and water-absorbing capacity. Thus, it softens and smoothens the skin. It is believed, however, that this substance has other beneficial properties aside from simply moisturizing and attracting water molecules.

The compound originates from fats and oils. In fact, molecules of fat contain glycerol. One way to extract it from fats or oils is through saponification - a chemical reaction involving a fat and an alkali. This chemical reaction produces soap. Soap-making is a common source of this trihydric alcohol under discussion.