Applications and New Preparation Methods of Butanol(n-Butanol )

The chemical formula of butanol is C4H10O, the molecular weight is 74.12, and it is also called Butylalcohol. Butanol a colorless transparent liquid with the special odor – wine odor, which is easily soluble in ethanol, ether, hydrogen sulfide aqueous solution, slightly soluble in water. It is mainly used to make n-butyl ester plasticizers of phthalic acid, aliphatic dibasic acid and phosphoric acid. They are widely used in various plastics and rubber products. They are also raw materials for the production of butyraldehyde, butyric acid, butylamine and butyl lactate in organic synthesis. As a chemical, butanol is widely used. In the paper, I will describe the source, preparation method and use of butanol.

Source of 1-Butanol

butanol was first discovered in 1852 by the French Fuzi obtaining the fusel oil in the fermentation process of ethanol. In 1913, the British Strange-Graham Company first used corn as raw material to produce acetone through fermentation process, and n-butanol was used as the main by-product. Later, due to the increasing demand for n-butanol, the fermentation factory changed to mainly produce n-butanol, with acetone and ethanol as by-products. During World War II, the German Ruhr Chemical Company produced n-butanol by propylene oxo synthesis. With the rise of petrochemical industry in the 1950s, the synthesis method of n-butanol developed rapidly, especially the propylene oxo synthesis method was the fastest.

Preparation Methods of n-Butanol

butanol has three kinds of industrial production methods. As follows:

1.Fermentation Method

Raw materials such as grains, cereals, or molasses are crushed and added water to make a fermentation liquid, which is sterilized by high-pressure steam and then cooled, then inserted into pure acetone-butanol strains and fermented at 36-37°C. During the Fermentation process, it produces gas containing carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The fermentation broth contains ethanol, butanol and acetone, usually in a ratio of 6:3:1. After rectification, butanol, acetone and ethanol can be obtained respectively, and they can also be used directly as the total solvent without separation.

2.Propylene Carbonyl Synthesis

Propylene, carbon monoxide and hydrogen are carbonylated with cobalt or rhodium catalyst to produce n-butyraldehyde and isobutyraldehyde. The reaction temperature is 130-160°C, the reaction pressure is 20-25MPa. n-butyraldehyde and isobutyraldehyde are separated by distillation, and n-butyraldehyde is catalytically hydrogenated to obtain n-butanol.

3.aldol condensation

Two molecules of acetaldehyde are condensed and dehydrated to obtain crotonaldehyde. Crotonaldehyde can be hydrogenated at 180°C and 0.29MPa in the presence of nickel-chromium catalyst to generate n-butanol.

Among the above three methods, due to the easy availability of raw materials, the relative reduction of the carbonylation process pressure, the increase in the ratio of the product n-butanol to isobutanol, and the simultaneous co-production or special production of 2-ethylhexanol, etc. Advantages, the propylene oxo synthesis method has become the most important production method of n-butanol.

Applications of butanol

1.Butanol can be used as a chromatographic analysis reagent, and also used in organic synthesis, etc.

2.Butanol is a food spice that is allowed to be used in my country’s “Hygienic Standards for the Use of Food Additives”. It is mainly used to make food flavors such as bananas, cream, whiskey and cheese. The amount used in candy is 34mg/kg; in baked foods are 32mg/kg; in soft drinks are 12mg/kg; in cold drinks are 7.0mg/kg; in cream is 4.0mg/kg; in alcohol is 1.0mg/kg.

3.Butanol is an intermediate of the herbicides, 2,4-D-butyl ester, butachlor, fluazifop (stable) and fine fluazifop.

4.Butanol can be used as extraction solvent and pigment diluent.

5.N-butanol is mainly used to make the phthalic acid, dibutyl phthalate, aliphatic dibasic acids and n-butyl phosphoric acid plasticizers, which are widely used in various plastic and rubber products. It is also the raw material for the production of butyraldehyde, butyric acid, butyl acetate, butylamine and butyl lactate in organic synthesis. It is also an extractant for the production of melamine resin, acrylic acid, oil, drugs (such as antibiotics, hormones and vitamins) and spices, and an additive for alkyd resin coatings. It can also be used as a solvent and dewaxing agent for organic dyes and printing inks.

Storage precautions for butanol

Butanol is a dangerous chemical. First of all, the vapor of ethanol forms an explosive mixture with air, and the explosion limit is 1.45-11.25 (volume). Secondly, ethanol is flammable ,when it meet the fire, high temperature and oxidant. So ethanol needs to be stored in a cool, ventilated warehouse. Ethanol should keep away from fire and heat sources. Storage temperature should not exceed 30°C. Ethanol should keep container tightly closed. It should be stored separately from oxidants and acids, and should not be mixed. Explosion-proof lighting and ventilation facilities are adopted. Prohibit the use of mechanical equipment and tools that are prone to sparks. The storage area should be equipped with leakage emergency treatment equipment and suitable containment materials.

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