Preferred IUPAC name
Other names
Hercules P 6
Hercules Aqualon improved technical PE-200
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.003.732 Edit this at Wikidata
EC Number
  • 204-104-9
RTECS number
  • RZ2490000
  • InChI=1S/C5H12O4/c6-1-5(2-7,3-8)4-9/h6-9H,1-4H2 ☒N
  • InChI=1/C5H12O4/c6-1-5(2-7,3-8)4-9/h6-9H,1-4H2
Molar mass 136.15 g/mol
Appearance white solid
Density 1.396 g/cm3
Melting point 260.5 °C (500.9 °F; 533.6 K)
Boiling point 276 °C (529 °F; 549 K) at 30 mmHg
  • 38.46 g/L (0°C)
  • 47.62 g/L (10°C)
  • 52.60 g/L (15°C)
  • 56.60 g/L (20°C)
  • 74.07 g/L (30°C)
  • 115.0 g/L (40°C)
  • 180.3 g/L (60°C)
  • 285.7 g/L (80°C)
  • 500.0 g/L (100°C)[2]

Slightly soluble in:methanol, ethanol, glycerol, ethylene glycol, formamide;

insoluble in: acetone, toluene, heptane, diethyl ether, dichloromethane

Vapor pressure 0.00000008 mmHg (20°C)[4]
Flash point 200.1 °C (392.2 °F; 473.2 K)
NIOSH (US health exposure limits):
PEL (Permissible)
TWA 15 mg/m3 (total) TWA 5 mg/m3 (resp)[4]
REL (Recommended)
TWA 10 mg/m3 (total) TWA 5 mg/m3 (resp)[4]
IDLH (Immediate danger)
Related compounds
Related compounds
Neopentane, Neopentyl alcohol, Neopentyl glycol, Trimethylolethane, Orthocarbonic acid
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Pentaerythritol is an organic compound with the formula C(CH2OH)4. Classified as a polyol, it is a white solid. Pentaerythritol is a building block for the synthesis and production of explosives, plastics, paints, appliances, cosmetics, and many other commercial products.

The word pentaerythritol is a blend of penta- in reference to its 5 carbon atoms and erythritol, which also possesses 4 alcohol groups.


Pentaerythritol was first reported in 1891 by German chemist Bernhard Tollens and his student P. Wigand.[5] It may be prepared via a base-catalyzed multiple-addition reaction between acetaldehyde and 3 equivalents of formaldehyde to give pentaerythrose (CAS: 3818-32-4), followed by a Cannizzaro reaction with a fourth equivalent of formaldehyde to give the final product.[6]


Pentaerythritol is a versatile building block for the preparation of many compounds,[7] particularly polyfunctionalized derivatives. applications include alkyd resins, varnishes, polyvinyl chloride stabilizers, tall oil esters, antioxidants (e.g. Anox 20). It can be found in transformer oil, plastics, paints, cosmetics, and many other applications.[8][9]

Polyester derivatives

Pentaerythritol is a precursor to esters of the type C(CH2OX)4. Such derivatives are pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), a vasodilator and explosive, the trinitrate derivative pentrinitrol (Petrin), the tetraacetate normosterol (PAG), and the polymer cross-linking agent pentaerythritol tetraacrylate.[10]

Fire retardants

Pentaerythritol is used as a fire retardant, such as in plastics.[citation needed] It produces a thick carbon barrier upon heating, protecting the surface substrate.

Pentaerythritol is one of the most common main active components in intumescent paints and coatings. It acts as a carbon donor and together with an acid donor, most commonly ammonium polyphosphate (APP), and a blowing agent, most commonly melamine.

See also


  1. ^ a b Nomenclature of Organic Chemistry: IUPAC Recommendations and Preferred Names 2013 (Blue Book). Cambridge: The Royal Society of Chemistry. 2014. p. 691. doi:10.1039/9781849733069-FP001. ISBN 978-0-85404-182-4.
  2. ^ Yalkowsky, Samuel H. (2010). Handbook of aqueous solubility data (Second ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. p. 185. ISBN 9781439802465.
  3. ^ Yadav, Manish G.; Vadgama, Rajeshkumar N.; Kavadia, Monali R.; Odaneth, Annamma Anil; Lali, Arvind M. (September 2019). "Production of Pentaerythritol Monoricinoleate (PEMR) by immobilized Candida antarctica lipase B". Biotechnology Reports. 23: e00353. doi:10.1016/j.btre.2019.e00353.
  4. ^ a b c d NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. "#0485". National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
  5. ^ Tollens, B.; Wigand, P. (1891). "Ueber den Penta-Erythrit, einen aus Formaldehyd und Acetaldehyd synthetisch hergestellten vierwerthigen Alkohol (On pentaerythritol, a quaternary alcohol synthetically produced from formaldehyde and acetaldehyde)". Justus Liebig's Annalen der Chemie (in German). 265 (3): 316–340. doi:10.1002/jlac.18912650303.
  6. ^ Schurink, H. B. J. (1925). "Pentaerythritol". Organic Syntheses. 4: 53. doi:10.15227/orgsyn.004.0053.; Collective Volume, vol. 1, p. 425
  7. ^ Marrian, S. F. (1 August 1948). "The Chemical Reactions of Pentaerythritol and its Derivatives". Chemical Reviews. 43 (1): 149–202. doi:10.1021/cr60134a004.
  8. ^ NPCS Board of Consultants & Engineers (2016). The Complete Book on Adhesives, Glues & Resins Technology (with Process & Formulations) 2nd Revised Edition.
  9. ^ NIIR Board of Engineers & Consultants (2005). Synthetic Resins Technology Handbook.
  10. ^ S. F. Marrian (1948). "The Chemical Reactions of Pentaerythritol and its Derivatives". Chemical Reviews. 43 (1): 149–202. doi:10.1021/cr60134a004. PMID 18876970.