Glycerine is an material of outstanding utility with many areas of application. The key to glycerine’s technical versatility is a unique combination of physical and chemical properties. Glycerine is also virtually nontoxic to human health and to the environment .
The origin, chemical structure, and utility of glycerine have been known for little more than two centuries. Glycerine was accidentally discovered in 1779 by K. W. Scheele, the Swedish chemist, while he was heating a mixture of olive oil and litharge (lead monoxide).
The immense potential of glycerine went largely untapped until M. E. Chevreul, the French pioneer investigator of fats and oils, studied it early in the 19th Century. Thirteen years later, Pelouze, another French investigator, announced the empirical formula as C3H,0,.5 The accepted structural formula. C,H,(OH), was established by Berthelot and Lucea almost fifty years later in 1883.’ Glycerine did not become economically or industrially significant until Alfred Nobel invented dynamite in 1866 after twenty years of experimentation. Nobel’s invention successfully stabilized tri-nitroglycerin, a highly explosive compound, by absorption on kieselguhr, which permitted safe handling and transportation. Dynamite became abundant production methods the first worldwide technical application for glycerine and through it, glycerine had an enormous influence on industrial development.
Glycerine plays an important role in nature.