Chemical Solvents Are Part of Everyday Life

Juliet D'cruz

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The chemical structures of solvents allow them to extract, dissolve, or capture other substances while causing little to no alteration of a given material’s chemical structure. This ability makes solvents very prevalent in numerous industrial processes and consumer products.

Because industrial operators use solvents so frequently, they have an ongoing need to recycle the chemicals. These companies can source solvent recovery systems from NexGen Enviro Inc. and set up industrial solvent recycling systems within their own production facilities.

Solvents In Consumer Goods

The last thing you want to do is pour chemicals on your skin. Yet, this is what many products are doing when they use solvents in their formulas. Solvents are used to dissolve the ingredients in a product so that they can be applied evenly and smoothly onto the skin. They’re also used in cleaners, paints, and degreasers because of their ability to break down grime or grease quickly. Unfortunately, these same properties make them dangerous for humans when absorbed through the skin or inhaled into the lungs. 

The use of solvents in industrial settings

Although consumer goods often contain solvents, industrial companies also use them for processing and manufacturing goods even if solvents do not remain within the finished product. In the printing industry, solvents in inks are essential for fast printing speeds. The solvents make the ink dry quickly while producing magazines or colorful packaging. This eliminates smudging and enables the machines to operate at high speed.

As a result, printing ink manufacturers have a strong interest in installing solvent distillation systems so that they can get multiple uses from the same solvent. Solvent distillation makes this possible because it separates usable solvent from residues picked up during the original application of solvent.

Solvent recovery systems at a pharmaceutical plant promote efficient use of resources. The pharmaceutical industry uses solvents in everything from cough medicine to pain relief ointments. The solvent butyl acetate is very important when making the antibiotic penicillin. The chemical purifies penicillin by separating it from impurities that are present in the reaction mixture.

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Solvents Are Classified Chemically

Solvents are a diverse group of chemicals sorted into three categories. The first category contains solvents that are not flammable but can be ignited or react with other compounds to form toxic gases. The second category is the petroleum-based solvents that are flammable and have various uses in industry. Finally, there are water-miscible solvents that dissolve many substances without being classified as either combustible or corrosive. 

What do you think about when reading this intro paragraph? Do you know what these different types of solvents mean? Is it something specific to your occupation? What would you like to learn more about in this blog post?

Halogenated solvents have a molecular structure based on a halogen. Chlorine, bromine, or iodine are examples of halogens. The dry cleaning chemical called perchloroethylene is a halogenated solvent.

Solvents Improve Product Performance

Although solvents require careful handling due to their chemically hazardous nature, they perform essential functions for products used in everyday life. Many products would fail to satisfy if solvents were not widely used by many industries.

For example, paint manufacturers would struggle without solvents to produce paints that delivered quality results and retained their smooth finishes. This important ingredient prevents clumping. As the solvent dissolves the other components, they are evenly distributed throughout the mixture. Glycol ether esters are used in automotive spray paints for slow and even drying. This allows for multiple coats of paint to be applied to create an incredibly smooth finish.

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