Gamma-Butyrolactone is a colorless liquid which is oily, has a weak odor, and is water soluble. It is actually a fairly common reagent in chemistry, and a common solvent. It can also be used as a stain remover, an aroma compound, a paint stripper, a superglue and as a solvent in some capacitors, namely aluminum electrolytic capacitors.
Gamma-Butyrolactone goes by several names, including GBL, butyrolactone, 1.4-lactone, 4-butyrolactone, 4-hydroxybutyric acid lactone, and also gamma-hydroxybutyric acid lactone. Its CAS number is 96-48-0 and its RTECS number is LU3500000. It can be found in samples of wines that are unadulterated, and it seems that this is how it is produced naturally. It can be synthesized from gamma-hydroxybutyric acid by removal of any water, or even by distillation. GBL can also be obtained through the oxidation of tetrahydrofuran.
Gamma-Butyrolactone is a chemical which has been used for years as a solvent. As a solvent, it has found many uses. It has been used in pesticides as well as for photochemical etching. It has been used in the electrolytes of small capacitors and batteries. It has been as a viscosity modifier in polyurethane.Â It has found a useful place in the practice of surface etching metal coated plastics. It has also been used in organic paint disbursement products for water soluble inks. It has been used in pH regulators, in the dying of polyamide fibers and wool, and as a catalyst during curing procedures. It can also be used as a curing agent for coating systems and/or urethanes and amides.
Gamma-Butyrolactone has found many uses in our modern world, especially in the fields which require a potent solvent. For uses such as pesticides, Gamma-Butyrolactone is considered one of the best chemicals there is. It is very usable, not extremely flammable, it is not super-reactive and is actually relatively safe for the environment. GBL is also a great ingredient for things like superglue and paint stripper because of its unique chemical qualities which make it so flexible and able to perform tasks that require a very powerful, yet usable solvent. While GBL is not extremely flammable, it is combustible and is therefore usually stored in metal containers like lacquer thinner usually is. You should always refer to the safety instructions for specifics regarding the safe usage of GBL, as with all paint thinners and strippers, this product is after all a chemical, and should be handled with responsibility.
It is also advisable to anyone who might be handling GBL to look up the material safety data sheet produced for it. This can give you detailed information abut how to safely store, use, and dispose of the chemical. Recommended storage for the chemical includes containers made from carbon steel, stainless steel and Ni. The chemical, for reasons of combustion and harmful affects, should never be kept in any other than the appropriate container. Remember to always use paint strippers and superglue with caution, as while these are not extremely powerful chemicals, we tend to underestimate just how toxic they can be. Always use GBL in accordance with the appropriate safety guidelines, do not play with your own safety.