Raw material information

Alkanolamines - the Donauchem product portfolio


About alkanolamines

Alkanolamines/ethanolamines, aminoethanols, aminoethyl alcohols are compounds that combine the properties of both nitrogen bases and alcohols. The ethanolamines are formally derived by stepwise replacement of the H atoms in ammonia by 2-hydroxyethyl groups.

A distinction is made between:
  • Monoethanolamine, 2-aminoethanol, 2-hydroxyethylamine/ NH2-CH2-CH2-OH
  • Diethanolamine, bis(2-hydroxyethyl)amine, HN(CH2-CH2-OH)
  • Triethanolamine, tris(2-hydroxyethyl)amine, N(CH2-CH2-OH)3 

Ethanolamines have a faint amine-like odour, are strongly hygroscopic and absorb carbon dioxide. Slightly soluble in water, alcohol, acetone and glycols, sparingly soluble or insoluble in aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons and in ether. The aqueous solutions react alkaline. With acids, ethanolamines form salts. With fatty acids they form salts, the neutral to weakly basic reacting ethanolamine soaps, which are soluble in water and some organic solvents.

They are mainly produced by reacting ethylene oxide with aqueous ammonia. The resulting mixture can be separated by fractional distillation.
The preparation of higher-value aminoethanols is somewhat more complex, which is why they are not dealt with here.

Within all amine compounds, the group alkanolamines/ethanolamines represent the classics in use in the chemical industry. Donauchem GmbH offers the most important and most common qualities in various concentrations, dilutions and in various packagings from small containers to bulk goods.

General information - amino alcohols

General structural formula of amino alcohols
General structure of (primary) amino alcohols with the primary amino and hydroxy group marked in blue. The radical R represents an aliphatic, cyclic or aromatic radical.

In organic chemistry, amino alcohols, also known as alkanolamines, are a group of compounds that contain at least two functional groups, one of which is a hydroxyl group and the other an amino group. As a rule, one speaks of primary amino alcohols in which the compound has a primary amino group (-NH2).

The term alkanolamines is regarded as a technical trivial term, amino alcohols as the systematic name of the substance group. 

Most important representatives


Structural formula of monoethanolamine
  • Most important applications/main uses:   
  • Substitute for caustic soda in cleaners.
  • Additive in cooling lubricants.
  • Organic solvent in the pulp industry.
  • Production of dyestuffs.
  • Grinding aid for cement.
  • Additive in cleaning agents and cosmetics (fatty acid derivatives).
  • Adsorbent for CO2 and H2S (amine scrubbing).
  • Intermediate for the production of wetting agents and surfactants.
  • Medical products.
  • Intermediate in chemical synthesis (mercapto compounds, amines).


2,2'-azanediyldiethanol 200  
  • Hardener for epoxy resins, water-soluble epoxy-amine adducts.
  • Intermediate in the production of washing raw materials, cement additives, pesticides and drilling and cutting oils.
  • Catalyst in the production of polyurethanes.
  • Grinding aid for cement.
  • Adsorbent for CO2 and H2S (amine scrubbing).
  • Pharmaceutical products.
  • Care products (floor care, shoe polishes).
  • Cosmetics (adjustment of pH-value).


Structural formula of triethanolamine
  • Alkaline component in soaps and cosmetics.
  • Wetting agent for textiles and softener in the leather industry.
  • Corrosion inhibitor.
  • Intermediate in the production of soaps, dispersants, water-soluble herbicides.
  • Grinding aid for cement.
  • Ammonia synthesis as catalyst detoxifier.
  • Adsorbent for CO2.
  • Pharmaceutical products (gels).

The product portfolio of Donauchem GmbH includes a range of alkanolamines.
For further information or quotations please contact us.

Donauchem GmbH


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