Ethylene carbonate

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Ethylene carbonate
Skeletal formula of ethylene carbonate
Ball-and-stick model of the ethylene carbonate molecule
IUPAC name
Other names
ethylene glycol carbonate[1]
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.002.283
Molar mass 88.06 g·mol−1
Appearance White to yellow solid
Density 1.3210 g/cm3
Melting point 34 to 37 °C (93 to 99 °F; 307 to 310 K)
Boiling point 243.0 °C (469.4 °F; 516.1 K)
Safety data sheet External MSDS
Irritant (XI)
R-phrases (outdated) R41
S-phrases (outdated) S26 S39
Flash point 150 °C (302 °F; 423 K)
465 °C (869 °F; 738 K)
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Ethylene carbonate (sometimes abbreviated EC) is the organic compound with the formula (CH2O)2CO. It is classified as the carbonate ester of ethylene glycol and carbonic acid. At room temperature (25 °C) ethylene carbonate is a transparent crystalline solid, practically odorless and colorless, and somewhat soluble in water. In the liquid state (m.p. 34-37 °C) it is a colorless odorless liquid.[2]

Production and reactions[edit]

Ethylene carbonate is produced by the reaction between ethylene oxide and carbon dioxide. The reaction is catalyzed by a variety of cations and complexes:[3]

(CH2)2O + CO2 → (CH2O)2CO

Ethylene carbonate can also be produced from the reaction of urea and ethylene glycol using zinc oxide as a catalyst at a temperature of 150 °C and a pressure of 3 kPa:[4]

(NH2)2CO + HO−CH2CH2−OH → (CH2O)2CO + 2 NH3

Ethylene carbonate (and propylene carbonate) may be converted to dimethyl carbonate (a useful solvent and a mild methylating agent) via transesterification by methanol:


Dimethyl carbonate may itself be similarly transesterified to diphenyl carbonate, a phosgene-substitute:[3]

CH3OCO2CH3 + 2 PhOH → PhOCO2Ph + 2 MeOH


Ethylene carbonate is used as a polar solvent with a molecular dipole moment of 4.9 D,[5][6] only 0.1 D lower than that of propylene carbonate. It can be used as a high permittivity component of electrolytes in lithium batteries.

Ethylene carbonate is also used as plasticizer, and as a precursor to vinylene carbonate, which is used in polymers and in organic synthesis.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "CID 7303 -- PubChem Compound Summary". Retrieved 2008-03-15.
  2. ^ JEFFSOL ETHYLENE CARBONATE catalog entry at Accessed on 2010-02-18.
  3. ^ a b Hans-Josef Buysch, "Carbonic Esters", Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, Weinheim: Wiley-VCH, doi:10.1002/14356007.a05_197
  4. ^ Bhalchandra M. Bhanage; Shin-ichiro Fujita (2003). "Transesterification of urea and ethylene glycol to ethylene carbonate as an important step for urea based dimethyl carbonate synthesis". Green Chemistry. 5: 429–432. doi:10.1039/b304182d.
  5. ^ Ralph P. Seward; Ernest C. Vieira (1958). "The Dielectric Constants of Ethylene Carbonate and of Solutions of Ethylene Carbonate in Water, Methanol, Benzene and Propylene Carbonate". J. Phys. Chem. 62 (1): 127–128. doi:10.1021/j150559a041.
  6. ^ Richard Payne; Ignatius E. Theodorou (1972). "Dielectric properties and relaxation in ethylene carbonate and propylene carbonate". J. Phys. Chem. 76 (20): 2892–2900. doi:10.1021/j100664a019.