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METHOCEL™ Cellulose Ethers


METHOCEL™ cellulose ethers are natural, non-toxic, water-soluble, cellulose based polymers including Methyl Cellulose and Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose (HPMC or hypromellose).  METHOCEL™ is produced from the cellulose pulp of southern white pine and cotton linters.  This cellulose pulp is treated with a caustic to produce alkali cellulose.  The hydroxyl groups of the alkali cellulose are then replaced with methoxy and hydroxypropyl groups by chemical treatment with methyl chloride and propylene oxide.  The resulting ether is non-ionic, water-soluble, and stable in a wide pH range.


All METHOCEL™ grades are soluble in water.  This solubility, however, decreases with increasing temperature.   This leads to solutions containing the cellulose ethers to have a unique reversible thermal gelation property.  The thermal gelation behavior varies based on the methoxy and hydroxypropyl substitution of the METHOCEL™ polymer in the solution.  This property makes METHOCEL a valuable processing aid for the production of intricate ceramic parts that require high green strength.


METHOCEL™ polymers are hydrocolloids that produce water-based solutions with a pseudoplastic (shear thinning) rheology.  For this reason they are often used as thickeners, rheology modifiers, and water-retention agents for end-use applications in coatings, adhesives, agrochemicals, ceramics, and various other industrial applications.  Other functions for this family of cellulose ethers in industrial applications include use as binders, film-formers, suspension aids, protective colloids, and emulsifiers.

METHOCEL™ is supplied as a free flowing powder in bags.   Grades vary mainly in degree of substitution and molecular weight.  The degree of substitution can be determined by the letter in the METHOCEL™ grade name.  For example grades beginning with the letter "A" are methyl cellulose and have only methoxy substitution and grades beginning with the letter "E" are HPMC and contain both methoxy and hydroxypropyl groups.  The number that follows the substitution designation represents the viscosity of a 2% solution of that polymer in water.  For instance METHOCEL™ E4M has a viscosity of 4,000 cps whereas A4C has a viscosity of 400 cps when added to water at 2%.  The viscosity of solutions of METHOCEL™ is directly correlated to the molecular weight of the polymer and the addition rate, whereas the solubility of the METHOCEL™ is dependent on the degree of substitution.  For more information about METHOCEL™ view one of the many available grades below.


ChemPoint is an approved supplier of METHOCEL™ in industrial applications, providing dedicated marketing, sales, order fulfillment, and technical support for customers located in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Western Europe.  Food grade and premium grades with USP approvals are also available.  For more information about approved applications please contact one of our product specialists. 

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