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Ethoxylation is a chemical process in which ethylene oxide (IUPAC name: 1,2-epoxyethane) is added to fatty acids in order to make them more soluble in water. An example is the ethoxylation of sodium dodecyl sulphate to form sodium laureth sulphate, which is used as a foaming agent in shampoos and toothpastes, and as an industrial detergent.

In an industrial ethoxylation plant, the raw material is preheated and fed to a stainless steel chemical reactor, where it is mixed with ethylene oxide and potassium hydroxide (KOH), which acts as the catalyst. The reactor is pressurised with nitrogen to 5 bar and heated to 150°C.

Many types of "substrate" chemicals may undergo ethoxylation: for example, alcohols, fatty acids, amines and phenols.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ethoxylation". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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