Monoethanolamine, also known as ethanolamine, MEA or 2-monoethanolamine, is a clear, viscous liquid chemical compound used in various manufacturing processes. The monoethanolamine family consists of various amino alcohols including dimenhydrinate, diphenhydramine, and several other antihistamines. The monoethanolamine production process constitutes creating a reaction between aqueous ammonia and ethylene oxide – the former ingredient produces monoethanolamine’s characteristic strong ammonia odor.

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Monoethanolamine has numerous industrial applications. The primary use of monoetahnolamine is as a feedstock and chemical intermediary in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, detergents, polishes, emulsifiers, plasticizing agents and corrosion inhibitors. Monoethanolamine also serves as a gas-scrubbing agent for the absorption and removal of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide in oil refining applications.

Additionally, monoethanolamine is used in the ammonia manufacturing process and to promote the alkalization of water in power and nuclear plant steam cycles.

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Monoethanolamine Properties

Monoethanolamine is a weak base, meaning it does not fully ionize in water or other aqueous solutions. Instead, it reacts with acidic compounds dissolved in the solution, rendering the molecules into an ionic form.

Monoethanolamine features a molecular weight of 61.08 g·mol−1; a density of 1.012 g/cm3; a melting point of 10.3° C (50.5° F); and a boiling point of 170° C (338° F). With a pH of 11.8, monoethanolamine exhibits a relatively high level of alkalinity. Monoethanolamine is also miscible in water.

Monoethanolamine contact with the skin can cause burns, while inhalation of mist results in severe irritation of the respiratory tract. It may also be toxic to the lungs, kidneys and central nervous system. Repeated prolonged exposure to monoethanolamine may produce organ damage.

Recommended safety equipment when working with monoethanolamine includes splash goggles, gloves, and a certified/approved vapor respirator with adequate ventilation. Store monoethanolamine in aluminum, carbon steel, or stainless steel tanks equipped with steel pipes and pumps.


Brenntag North America is the “go-to” chemical source for companies across a broad spectrum of industries. In addition to carrying a large supply of premium monoethanolamine products, we provide a customer-focused business approach designed to enhance your company’s manufacturing capabilities and boost your bottom line. You can always count on us for the most innovative supply chain solutions in our industry.

Brenntag will work with you to develop custom chemical blends for your unique applications and provide capable new product development assistance when needed. And with more than 190 strategically located facilities across North America and just-in-time delivery service, you will never experience excessive inventory costs.

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