Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Ethylene Glycol

  • Didier Despois
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_1882-5



Ethylene glycol [IUPAC name 1,2-ethanediol] is the simplest dialcohol (or diol). A (toxic) liquid under standard pressure from 197 °C down to −12 °C, its mixture (70–30 %) with water remains liquid down to −51 °C, which explains its use as antifreeze. It is currently produced by reaction of ethylene oxide (oxirane, C2H4O) with water. Ethylene glycol has been found in the interstellar medium toward the galactic center and in comet C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp).


Detection of ethylene glycol in interstellar matter was rather difficult; it was performed for the first time by Hollis et al. (2002) toward the galactic center. This contrasts with the relative strength of the lines in comet C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp), where this molecule was identified in archive spectra as soon as the line frequencies were available (Crovisier et al. 2004). Several conformers of ethylene glycol exist (Hollis et al. 2002), and the astronomical detections prior...


Lower Energy Bioorganic Chemistry Relative Strength Ethylene Oxide Interstellar Medium 
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References and Further Reading

  1. Crovisier J, Bockelée-Morvan D, Biver N, Colom P, Despois D, Lis DC (2004) Ethylene glycol in comet C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp). Astron Astrophys 418:L35–L38ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Hollis JM, Lovas FJ, Jewell PR, Coudert LH (2002) Interstellar antifreeze: ethylene glycol. Astrophys J Lett 571:L59–L62ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Observatoire de BordeauxFloiracFrance