An Electronic Cigarette Emporium

I use vegetable glycerin for some of my juices (e-liquids), it is comparable to Propylene Glycol (the base ingredient found in most of the cartridges you buy) and I have found a few articles claiming it is a healthier alternative. A few other benefits - cheaper (2 bucks for a bottle that will last you a few months, maybe even a year), easier to find, better vapor, and a nicer throat hit.

A couple of notes:

When shopping for VG (vegetable glycerin) make sure to buy food grade. Natural food store's such as Whole Foods carry it. Make sure the bottle is labeled with 100% Kosher USP!!! You should see the label in that back of the bottle, if you do not clearly see USP, do not use if for vaping.

Also please do some research of your own, I've done some pretty extensive research so my comfort level is high, what I've concluded is that VG is a lot safer then smoking a real cigarette. If you find anything interesting please inbox me and I will update this article.

Research links:

Exert from the Wikipedia

Synthesis and production

Glycerol (3D model), showing the atoms and the lone electron pairs associated with the oxygen atoms (in pink)

Glycerol forms the backbone of triglycerides, and can be produced by saponification of animal fats, e.g. a byproduct of soap-making. It also is a byproduct of the production of biodiesel via transesterification. Because of the emphasis on biodiesel, the market for glycerol is depressed, and the old epichlorohydrin process for glycerol synthesis is no longer economical. Approximately 950,000 tons per annum are produced in the USA and Europe. Production will increase as the EU directive 2003/30/EC is implemented, which requires the replacement of 5.75% of petroleum fuels with biofuel across all Member States by 2010[2].

Glycerol is also produced as a byproduct of refining of cooking and salad oils, and various brands (e.g, NOW) are sold to the retail market as "Pure Vegetable Source" glycerin, 100% pure, which is safe for ingestion.

[edit] Applications

[edit] Foods industry

In foods and beverages, glycerol serves as a humectant, solvent and sweetener, and may help preserve foods. It is also used as filler in commercially prepared low-fat foods (e.g., cookies), and as a thickening agent in liqueurs. Glycerol and water are used to preserve certain types of leaves. As a sugar substitute, it has approximately 27 calories per teaspoon and is 60 percent as sweet as sucrose. Although it has about the same food energy as table sugar, it does not raise blood sugar levels, nor does it feed the bacteria that form plaques and cause dental cavities. As a food additive, glycerol is labeled as E number E422.

Glycerol is also used to manufacture mono- and di-glycerides for use as emulsifiers, as well as polyglycerol esters going into shortenings and margarine.

It is also used as a humectant (along with propylene glycol labelled as E1520 and/or E422) in the production of snus, a Swedish style snuff that the Swedish government subjects to the same regulations as "food" because it is used orally.

[edit] Categorization

Glycerol is currently categorized by the American Dietetic Association as a carbohydrate. The U.S. FDA carbohydrate designation includes all caloric macronutrients excluding protein and fat. This group includes indigestible fibers, but not ash. Glycerin has a caloric density similar to table sugar, but a lower glycemic index and different metabolic pathway within the body, so some dietary advocates accept glycerin as a sweetener compatible with low carbohydrate diets.

[edit] Organic chemistry

In organic synthesis, glycerol is used as a readily available prochiral building block. Even if glycerol with no substitutions is symmetrical, and carbon atoms 1 and 3 are exchangeable, once one of them forms an ester or ether bond, the two are no longer exchangeable. Further bond formation and lysis may lead to products substituted solely at the third carbon; due to such circumstances, to maintain both full description and conformance to the chemistry naming rules (which require carbon counting to minimize ordinal numbers of substituents), the carbons are named sn-1, sn-2, and sn-3, with "sn" standing for "sterospecifical numbering".[3]

[edit] Physical properties

Like ethylene glycol and propylene glycol, glycerol dissolved in water disrupts the hydrogen bonding between water molecules such that the mixture cannot form a stable crystal structure unless the temperature is significantly lowered. The minimum freezing point temperature is at about -36 °F / -37.8 °C corresponding to 60-70 % glycerol in water, as shown in the table below. Thus, glycerol has anti-freeze properties.

Glycerol Freezing Point
Percent Glycerol (wt. %) Freezing Point (°F / °C)
0 32 / 0
10 29.1 / -1.6
20 23.4 / -4.8
30 14.9 / -9.5
40 4.3 / -15.4
50 -7.4 / -21.9
60 -28.5 / -33.6
70 -36 / -37.8
80 -2.3 / -19.1
90 29.1 / -1.6
100 62.6 / 17.0

However, glycerol is more difficult to handle in its pure form due to its high viscosity. Glycerol behaves much like a syrup, not because of its relatively high molecular weight, but, again, because of hydrogen bonding. Glycerol can form 3 hydrogen bonds, making it resistant to flow.

Glycerol Viscosity
Temperature (°F / °C) Viscosity (cP)
25.7 / -3.5 8600
29.3 / -1.5 7300
34.6 / 1.4 6660
41.4 / 5.2 6040
57.8 / 14.3 4520
66.8 / 19.3 4100
72.3 / 22.4 4100
75.3 / 24.1 4080

[edit] Foams and polymers

Glycerol is one of the major raw materials for the manufacture of polyol-based flexible foams, and to a lesser extent rigid polyurethane foams.

[edit] Nitroglycerine

Glycerol is used to produce nitroglycerin, or glycerol-trinitrate (GTN), which is an essential ingredient of smokeless gunpowder and various explosives such as dynamite, gelignite and propellants like cordite. Reliance on soap-making to supply co-product glycerine made it difficult to increase production to meet wartime demand. Hence, synthetic glycerin processes were national defence priorities in the days leading up to World War II. GTN is commonly used to relieve angina pectoris, taken in the form of sub-lingual tablets, or as an aerosol spray.

[edit] Research laboratory usage

Glycerol is a common component of solvents for enzymatic reagents stored at temperatures below zero degrees Celsius due to the depression of the freezing temperature of solutions with high concentrations of glycerol. It is also dissolved in water to reduce damage by ice crystals to laboratory organisms that are stored in frozen solutions, such as bacteria, nematodes, and fruit flies. Samples are loaded into agarose gel electrophoresis mixed in loading buffers that mainly consist of glycerol; when the sample is injected into wells, the glycerol causes the solution to sink through the running buffer to the bottom of the well.

[edit] Pharmaceutical and personal care applications

Glycerol is used in medical and pharmaceutical and personal care preparations, mainly as a means of improving smoothness, providing lubrication and as a humectant. It is found in cough syrups, elixirs and expectorants, toothpaste, mouthwashes, skin care products, shaving cream, hair care products, soaps and water based personal lubricants. In solid dosage forms like tablets, Glycerol is used as a tablet holding agent. It is also an ingredient in cigarettes that is used as a humectant. For human consumption, glycerol is classified by the U.S. FDA among the sugar alcohols as a caloric macronutrient.

As a 10% solution, glycerol prevents tannins from precipitating in ethanol extracts of plants (tinctures). It is also used as a substitute for ethanol as a solvent in preparing herbal extractions. It is less extractive and is approximately 30% less able to be absorbed by the body. Fluid extract manufacturers often extract herbs in hot water before adding glycerin to make glycerites.[4][5][6]

Used as a laxative when introduced into the rectum in suppository or small-volume (2to10ml)(enema) form; irritates the anal mucosa and induces a hyperosmotic effect.

Glycerol is a component of glycerol soap, which is made from denatured alcohol, glycerol, sodium castorate (from castor), sodium cocoate, sodium tallowate, sucrose, and water. Sometimes one adds sodium laureth sulfate, or essential oils for fragrance. This kind of soap is used by people with sensitive, easily-irritated skin because it prevents skin dryness with its moisturizing properties. It draws moisture up through skin layers and slows or prevents excessive drying and evaporation. It is possible to make glycerol soap at home.

Topical pure or nearly pure glycerol is an effective treatment for psoriasis, burns, bites, cuts, rashes, bedsores, and calluses. It can be used orally to eliminate halitosis, as it is a contact bacterial desiccant. The same property makes it very helpful with periodontal disease; it penetrates biofilm quickly and eliminates bacterial colonies.

[edit] Alternative chemical and fuel feedstock

A great deal of research is being conducted to try to make value-added products from crude glycerol (typically containing 20 % water and residual esterification catalyst) obtained from biodiesel production, as an alternative to disposal by incineration.

[edit] Specialized and potential uses

  • Glycerol is used for an evaporative fogging agent as an alternative to Propylene Glycol in some solutions for "electronic cigarette" use, mostly for those with a physiological sensitivity or other health concerns.
  • It is also used in de-icing/anti-icing fluids, as in vitrification of blood cells for storage in liquid nitrogen.
  • In motion-picture production, glycerol is used as a non-evaporating substitute for perspiration or tears on actors. It is also used in some types of stage blood.
  • Compost additive
  • For tincture extraction and preservation of essential oils and chemicals from herbs
  • Citric acid production
  • Cosmetic bonding agent for makeup, including: eye shadow, lipstick, lipgloss, lotions and eyedrops
  • Glycerol may be used as antifreeze for plants, if mixed with water in a 10 percent solution. It is believed to be effective at temperatures near -18 °C[dubious ]
  • Glycerol can also be used as a bodybuilding supplement to increase nitric oxide (NO) uptake in the muscles and act in a similar way to the amino acid arginine to create swelling in the working muscle for the individual
  • Glycerin, when poured on potassium permanganate, will combust making it a useful firelighting tool.
  • Glycerine is used as an anti-drying agent in watercolor paints.
  • Glycerine is used as a preservative to keep shisha (tobacco for use in hookahs) moist. Glycerine should be added to re-moisten dried or semi-stale shisha.

[edit] Metabolism

Glycerol is a precursor for synthesis of triacylglycerols and of phospholipids in the liver and adipose tissue. When the body uses stored fat as a source of energy, glycerol and fatty acids are released into the bloodstream. The glycerol component can be converted to glucose by the liver and provides energy for cellular metabolism.

Before glycerol can enter the pathway of glycolysis or gluconeogenesis (depending on physiological conditions), it must be converted to their intermediate glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate in the following steps:

Glycerol Glycerol kinase Glycerol-3-phosphate Glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase Dihydroxyacetone phosphate Triosephosphate isomerase Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate
Glycerin Skelett.svg ATP ADP Glycerol-3-phosphate.png NAD+ NADH DHAP.png G3P-2D-skeletal.png
Biochem reaction arrow foward YYNN horiz med.svg Biochem reaction arrow reversible YYYY horiz med.svg GG-Pfeil 1.svg

The enzyme glycerol kinase is present only in the liver. In adipose tissue, glycerol 3-phosphate is obtained from dihydroxyacetone phosphate (DHAP) with the enzyme glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase.

[edit] Historical cases of contamination with diethylene glycol

On May 4, 2007, the US Food and Drug Administration advised all US makers of medicines to test all batches of glycerine for the toxic diethylene glycol.[14] This follows an occurrence of 100 fatal poisonings in Panama resulting from a Chinese factory deliberately falsifying records in order to export the cheaper diethylene glycol as the more expensive glycerol.[15] Glycerine and diethylene glycol are similar in appearance, smell, and taste. The US Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act was passed following the 1937 "Elixir Sulfanilamide" incident of poisoning caused by diethylene glycol contamination of medicine.


Last updated by Unkle Fun May 16, 2013.

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