Chemical Structure / July 21, 2018 / Serena Calhoun
Several sulfonic acids occur naturally—for example, the essential nutrient taurine (2-aminoethanesulfonic acid; NH2CH2CH2SO3H), the sulfobacins and other sulfonolipids (the biologically active products from bacterial cultures that contain 15- to 17-carbon chains attached to the carbon and nitrogen of 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid), and the echinosulfonic acid C (an α-hydroxysulfonic acid containing two brominated indole rings).
This reaction can be catalyzed by either acids or bases, or can occur at neutral pH under elevated temperatures. The highest yields of ethylene glycol occur at acidic or neutral pH with a large excess of water. Under these conditions, ethylene glycol yields of 90% can be achieved. The major byproducts are the oligomers diethylene glycol, triethylene glycol, and tetraethylene glycol. The separation of these oligomers and water is energy-intensive. About 6.7 million tonnes are produced annually.
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