Uses of Propylene Carbonate

Written by rose kerr
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Propylene carbonate (PC) is an organic solvent, which is also known as 4-Methyl-1, 3-Dioxolan-2-On. It is an ester of propylene glycol and carbonic acid. It is a colourless and odourless liquid with a high boiling point. Because of its nontoxic property, it is used in the production of skin care and textile products.


Propylene carbonate is used in the manufacturing of make-up products, like lipstick, eye shadow and in skin cleansing products. The Food and Drug Administration reviewed the safety of propylene carbonate and approved its use as an indirect food additive. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert panel assessed the safety of PC and agreed that it is safe as a cosmetic ingredient. PC is used to dissolve other substances.

Lithium Batteries

Propylene carbonate is used in rechargeable lithium batteries. It is used as filler in lithium batteries because it has high polarity and high donor capability. It is mainly used in electrolytes of lithium batteries. It creates an effective solvation shell around lithium ions; thus, creating a conductive electrolyte. The liquid electrolyte is usually a mixture of high-permittivity solvent like propylene carbonate and a low-viscosity solvent, like dimethoxyethane.

Paint Stripper

Paint stripper or paint remover is used to remove paints. Propylene carbonate is used in the manufacturing of paint strippers and even in nail polish removers. A usual paint removing composition consists of an alkaline carbonate, like propylene carbonate, and an alcohol, like benzyl alcohol. It contains about 90 to 99.5 per cent propylene carbonate by weight and about 0.1 to 10 per cent alcohol by weight. PC is preferred in paint strippers because of its nontoxic characteristics. Once applied on the surface, paint stripper reduces the adhesion between the top coats and undercoats of the paint; thus, making the paint removing process easier.


Plasticisers are additives that are used to increase the plasticity of the material; they are mainly added to plastics and concrete to achieve the desired level of plasticity. Propylene carbonate and ethylene carbonate with different values of donor numbers, viscosity and dielectric constant have been used as plasticisers.

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