Market Applications :
Household and Institutional Cleaners
Glycolic acid has many properties that make it an ideal component of household and institutional cleaner systems. Its dissolution capabilities for hard water salts (magnesium, calcium), soap scum and iron oxide give it excellent cleaning characteristics. The dissolved salts are easily rinsed away. In addition, it has very low odor, is light in color, and in nonflammable. It is also readily biodegradable, and has negligible VOC (<0.1 mm pressure at 20 ° C [68 ° F]).
Glycolic acid is compatible with most other acids (though care should be exercised with strong oxidizing agents) and with other components used in formulations such as surfactants and glycol ether solvents, as well as many fragrances and dyes. Testing has shown that the inclusion of glycolic in acid hard-surface cleaners generally results in improved or superior cleaning performance.
- Stainless Steel Boiler and Process Cleaning Equipment.
Calcium carbonate and iron oxide mill scale can be removed by glycolic acid alone or by synergistic mixtures of glycolic and other acids. Where corrosion is an issue, such as in high pressure stainless steel boiler systems, a mixture of 2%glycolic acid and 1% formic acid has been found to be very effective. The low chloride content of glycolic acid minimizes the potential for chloride stress corrosion damage. The glycolic/formic acid mixture offers the following advantages:
- Effective removal of scale deposits
- Freedom from organic iron precipitation
- Low corrosion due to negligible chloride content
- Biodegradable wastes
- Dairy Cleaning
The unique combinations of glycolic acid's properties make it an excellent acid cleaner for removing milk stone, casein and other deposits from dairy processing equipment. Glycolic acid dissolves and complexes hard water scale more effectively than phosphoric acid. Waste materials and any un-reacted acid are easily washed away with a final rinse of potable water.
- Food Processing Equipment Cleaning
The use of glycolic acid in the cleaning of meat, poultry and egg products processing equipment, providing these food contact surfaces are rinsed with potable water after cleaning.
- Transportation Cleaning
Because of its low toxicity, glycolic acid is the ideal replacement of more toxic acids such as oxalic, which is commonly used in the cleaning of stainless steel and aluminum, rail cars, as well as truck bodies, "Mag" wheels. Glycolic acid's low corrosiveness, good salt solubility and high rinsability, low odour and ready biodegradability contribute to its attractiveness in these applications.
Glycolic acid can be used alone or in mixtures with other acids, particularly phosphoric acid, to produce an effective cleaner for bricks and concrete. Some clay used in making white bricks contain traces of metals that cause staining as they migrate to the surface during kiln firing. Glycolic acid's complexing ability affords effective removal of these metals.
- Paper Maker Felt Cleaning
Because of its ability to complex aluminum salts, as well as other hard water salts, glycolic acid can be valuable in conditioning papermaker felts. It is non-damaging to the nylon components of these paper felts.
- Cooling Tower and Heat Exchanger Cleaning
Glycolic acid will effectively remove hard water scale from all types of heat-exchanger equipment. Due to its low corrosiveness, odour, and negligible volatility, it should be considered for pH adjustment of cooling water to prevent scale accumulation.
- Water Well Cleaning
Glycolic acid complexes and removes accumulated iron and carbonate deposits in water wells. Glycolic acid removes the scale which suppresses the flow of water. In addition, anecdotal and technical literature reports indicate that such treatment is particularly effective where flow is suppressed due to the presence of slime and iron metabolizing bacteria. Glycolic acid is easily handled because of its liquid form, low corrosiveness and lack of fumes. It also has no solubilization problems. Waste disposal from well cleaning is facilitated by glycolic acid's ready biodegradability and its ability to prevent salt precipitation even as the pH is increased. Glycolic acid does not replace the need for phosphate treatment used to aid clay removal.
- Metal Pickling
Glycolic acid can be used to replace volatile acids in special pickling operations. The negligible volatility prevents losses due to elevated temperatures and reduces ventilation requirements.
- Copper Brightening
Glycolic acid can be used to give luster to copper and copper alloys, following normal pickling operations. This luster has been found to be retained much longer than when strong oxidizing acids are used. Polishes for copper utensils, like pots and pans, can also be formulated with glycolic acid as the primary active ingredient.