2-Ethylhexanol (abbreviated 2-EH) is a branched, eight-carbon chiral alcohol. It is a colorless liquid that is poorly soluble in water but soluble in most organic solvents. It is produced on a massive scale for use in numerous applications such as solvents, flavors, and fragrances and especially as a precursor for production of other chemicals such as emollients and plasticizers. It is encountered in natural plant fragrances, and the odor has been reported as "heavy, earthy, and slightly floral" for the R enantiomer and "a light, sweet floral fragrance" for the S enantiomer.




Almost all 2-ethylhexanol manufactured is used as a precursor for the synthesis of the diester bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), a plasticizer. Because it is a fatty alcohol, its esters tend to have emollient properties. For example, the sunscreen octocrylene contains a 2-ethylhexyl ester for this purpose.

It is also commonly used as a low volatility solvent. 2-Ethylhexanol can also be used as an octane booster when reacted with nitric acid.


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