Triethanolamine = TEA = TEOA
CAS Number: 102-71-6
EC Number: 203-049-8
Chemical formula: C6H15NO3
Molar mass: 149.190 g·mol−1
Triethanolamine, or TEA is a viscous organic compound that is both a tertiary amine and a triol.
A triol is a molecule with three alcohol groups.
Approximately 150,000 tonnes were produced in 1999.
Triethanolamine is a colourless compound although samples may appear yellow because of impurities.
Triethanolamine (TEA or TEOA) is an oily, viscous organic chemical compound that is a tertiary amine and a triol (a molecule with three alcohol groups).
TEA is a bifunctional compound that exhibits both properties of alcohols and amines.
The compound is used to make surfactants in industrial and cosmetics as a pH adjuster for skin and hair conditioning products as well as sun screen lotions, liquid laundry detergents, polishes, and paints.
Find high quality trethanolamine in a variety of forms and grades at Spectrum Chemical - including triethanolamine technical, reagent, lauryl sulfate, salicylate, and more.
This colorless organic compound is both a tertiary amine and a triol, and can be used in surfactants, detergents, fabric softeners, ink additives, oil additives, in synthetic chemical preparations, among other applications.
Production of Triethanolamine:
Triethanolamine is produced from the reaction of ethylene oxide with aqueous ammonia, also produced are ethanolamine and diethanolamine.
The ratio of the products can be controlled by changing the stoichiometry of the reactants.
A colorless to yellow liquid.
It is completely soluble in water and has an ammonia-like smell.
Building block in the manufacture of triazine based corrosion inhibitors.
Triethanolamine is commonly used as a cement grinding aid, and can be used in other applications as well.
-Urethane foam catalysts
-Personal care products
-Broad spectrum of applications
-Act as amines or alcohols
Triethanolamine: Triethanolamine is used in many cosmetic products to help balance pH levels, as well as to act as a cleansing base.
When absorbed into the body over a long period of time, Triethanolamine can become toxic.
Even short periods of exposure can cause allergic reactions, including eye problems and dry hair and skin.
Look for Triethanolamine in eyeliners, eye shadows, blushers, mascara, foundation, hair dyes, hair care products, shaving products, and sunscreens.
Triethanolamine, Reagent is a is colorless organic compound that has a viscous texture and is both a tertiary amine and a triol.
Triethanolamine is mainly used as an emulsifier and a surfactant.
TEA neutralizes fatty acids while adjusting and buffering the pH.
Triethanolamine is used in the fabrication of cosmetics and medicine such as ear drops, skin lotions, eye gels, shampoos and others.
TEA also has a use in the laboratory as a complexing agent for aluminum ions in aqueous solutions.
Triethanolamines reagent grade means this is the highest quality commercially available for this chemical and that the American Chemical Society has not officially set any specifications for this material.
Triethanolamine is a colorless oily liquid with the smell of ammonia.
Triethanolamine is easy to absorb water and will turn into brown color when being exposed to the air and the light.
At low temperature, Triethanolamine will become colorless or pale yellow cubic crystal. It is miscible with water, methanol and acetone.
Triethanolamine is soluble in benzene, ether, slightly soluble in carbon tetrachloride, n-heptane.
Triethanolamine is a kind of strong alkaline, combining with protons, can be used for condensation reaction.
Early strength agent
Triethanolamine is currently a commonly used early strength agent used in China's cement industry with the effect of early strength agent being accelerating hydration process of the cement in the presence of liquid phase in the concrete to improve the early strength.
Although triethanolamine does not change the hydration product of cement, Triethanolamine can enhance the activity of the colloid generated through the hydration of cement, producing pressure to surrounding regions, blocking the capillary channel, exacerbating the effect of the adsorption, wetting and dispersion of particles and so on, promoting the reaction of the formation of hydrated calcium sulfoaluminate between the C3A and gypsum.
This can improve the density of concrete, anti-permeability and antifreeze property, playing the role of early strength and enhancing the strength.
When used in combination with inorganic salts, it can play a catalytic role due to the hydration of cement itself and the reaction between inorganic salts and cement, so that the effect of early strength is particularly significant in the case.
At room temperature, it appears as colorless transparent viscous liquid with hygroscopicity and ammonia smell.
TEA is alkaline, being irritating.
TEA has a melting point of 21.2 °C, the boiling point of 360 °C, a flash point of 193 ° C, the relative density (d420) 1.1242 and refractive index (nD20) of 1.4852.
Triethanolamine is miscible with water, ethanol and acetone, slightly soluble in ether, benzene and carbon tetrachloride.
In analytical chemistry, triethanolamine can be used as the stationary phase for the gas liquid chromatography (the maximum temperature is 75 ℃ with the solvent being methanol and ethanol), used for the separation of pyridine and methyl substitutes.
In the complexometric titration and other analysis, it can be used as a masking agent for interfering ions. For example, in a solution of pH = 10, when we apply EDTA for titration of magnesium, zinc, cadmium, calcium, nickel and other ions, the reagent can be used for masking titanium, aluminum, iron, tin and some other ions.
In addition, it can also be dubbed with hydrochloric acid into a buffer solution of a certain pH value.
Triethanolamine is mainly used in the manufacture of surfactants, liquid detergents, cosmetics and so on.
Triethanolamine is one of the components of cutting fluid and antifreeze fluid. During the nitrile rubber polymerization, it can be used as an activator, being the vulcanization activator of natural rubber and synthetic rubber.
Triethanolamine can also be used as the emulsifiers of oil, wax and pesticides, the moisturizer and stabilizer of cosmetics, textile softeners as well as the anti-corrosion additives of lubricants. Triethanolamine is also capable of absorbing carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide and other gases.
During the cleaning of the coke oven gas and other industrial gases, it can be used for removal of acid gases.
Triethanolamine is also a commonly used masking agent in the EDTA titration assay.
Feed the ethylene oxide and ammonia water are into the reactor; conduct the condensation reaction under a reaction temperature of 30-40 °C and a reaction pressure of 70.9-304 kPa to generate a mixture solution of mono-, di-and triethanolamine; after undergoing dehydration and concentration at 90-120 °Cand then send to three vacuum distillation tower for vacuum distillation; capture different fractions according to different boiling points, you can get over 99% purity of the finished product of ethanolamine, diethanolamine and triethanolamine. During the course of the reaction, if increase the proportion of ethylene oxide, the generation ratio of di-and tri-ethanolamine will increase so we can get higher di-and tri-ethanolamine yield.
Triethanolamine is manufactured through the condensation reaction between ethylene oxide and ammonia under 30~40 °C and the pressure 71~304 kPa, in which the molar concentration of ethylene oxide and ammonia ratio is about 2.0. After the reaction, perform vacuum distillation through the distillation column, cut off the fractions of about 360 °C.
Triethanolamine is a viscous, colourless/pale yellow liquid with a weak ammoniacal odour. Triethanolamine is incompatible with copper, copper alloys, galvanised iron, acids, and oxidisers. Reports indicate that in India itself, as many as six companies manufacture triethanolamine and it is manufactured by many different countries around the world. Global production and industrial application of triethanolamine is very extensive.
Triethanolamine, also known as trolamine, is an oily, viscous, liquid organic chemical compound with a mild ammonia odor. Its molecular formula is C6H15NO3 with CAS #102-71-6.
In industries, triethanolamine is used as a corrosion inhibitor in metal-cutting fluids; a curing agent for epoxy and rubber polymers; a copper–triethanolamine; in emulsifiers, thickeners, and wetting agents in the formulation of consumer products such as cosmetics, detergents, shampoos, and other personal products; and a neutraliser-dispersing agent in agricultural herbicide formulations.
In brief, triethanolamine has wide applications as a corrosion inhibitor, a surface-active agent, and an intermediate in various products including metalworking fluids, oils, fuels, paints, inks, cement, cosmetic, and personal products and formulations of algicides and herbicides.
Triethanolamine is a pale yellow and viscous liquid.
Triethanolamine is hygroscopic with an irritant and ammoniacal odor. There are multiple industrial and domestic applications for this compound, i.e., in the manufacture of toilet products, cosmetics formulations, solvents for waxes, resins, dyes, paraffi ns and polishes, herbicides, and lubricants for textile products. In the pharmaceutical industry, triethanolamine is used as a non-steroidal, antiinfl ammatory agent, an emulsifi er, and an alkylating agent.
Triethanolamine is used primarily as a surfactant, reducing the surface tension between two media.
Triethanolamine is also used as a general emulsifier for preparations, such as ones involving drug penetration ass ays.
Triethanolamine is used in fatty-acid soaps; in dry cleaning, cosmetics, shampoos, creams, waxes, cutting oils, household detergents, and emulsions; in wool scouring; textile antifume agent; water repellant; dispersion agent; corrosion inhibitor; softener; emulsifier; humectant; plasticizer; chelating agent; rubber accelerator; pharmaceutical alkalizing agent; catalyst for condensation etc.; in emulsions with mineral and vegetable oils.
The emulsifing agent triethanolamine can be contained in many products, such as metalwork cutting fluids and in color-film developers.
Traces may exist in other ethanolamines such as mono- and diethanolamine.
Triethanolamine is prepared commercially by the ammonolysis of ethylene oxide.
The reaction yields a mixture of monoethanolamine, diethanolamine, and triethanolamine, which are separated to obtain the pure products.
ChEBI: A tertiary amino compound that is ammonia in which each of the hydrogens is substituted by a 2-hydroxyethyl group.
Triethanolamine is produced with ethanolamine and diethanolamine by ammonolysis of ethylene oxide and the triethanolamine is then separated by distillation.
In 1984, 139.6 million pounds of triethanolamine were produced in the United States.
The dried leaves contain protein, 25.7%; fat, 6.5%; carbohydrate, 40.8%; ash, 5%; caffeine, 3.3% and tannin, 13%.
The most common catechins are gallic esters (epicatechin, epicatechin gallate and epigallocatechin gallate).
All are found in green tea and are claimed to be responsible for the chemopreventive benefits of the beverage.
World Health Organization (WHO)
Trolamine is widely used as an emulsifier in combination with fatty acids in pharmaceutical and cosmetic products.
The World Health Organization is not aware of restrictive action having been taken elsewhere.
Triethanolamine, an amine, is used as a stabilizer and a pH Balancer for cosmetics and skin care products.
Triethanolamine 99%, also called TEA, is widely with many functions, being used for manufacturing of many other chemicals, like surfactants, emulsifiers.
It is a common ingredient used in many common consumer, commercial and industrial products.
One function of triethanolamine is neutralizing fatty acids, adjusting and buffering the pH of products, and solubilizing oils and other ingredients that are not completely soluble in water.
Triethanolamine is used for example in our Carbopol 940 to neutralize as you make a thickener or a suspension base with the carbopol 940
When TEA is combined with stearic acid in a 2:1 Ratio, 2 parts stearic acid to 1 part TEA (by weight) it functions as a primary or secondary emulsifier in cosmetic formulations.
Typically, in use, slightly less triethanolamine is used to ensure TEA is limited in the reaction, so there's no free triethanolamine left in your finished product.
Some common products containing triethanolamine are: Lotions, liquid detergents like laundry and dishwashing liquid soaps, shaving creams, general surface cleaners, polishes, metalworking fluids.
Oily liquid with a mild ammonia odor. Denser than water. Freezing point is 71°F.
Air & Water Reactions
Triethanolamine is an aminoalcohol. Neutralize acids to form salts plus water in exothermic reactions. Amines may be incompatible with isocyanates, halogenated organics, peroxides, phenols (acidic), epoxides, anhydrides, and acid halides. Flammable gaseous hydrogen is generated in combination with strong reducing agents, such as hydrides. Reacts violently with strong oxidants. [Handling Chemicals Safely 1980. p. 928].
Exposures to triethanolamine, in contrast with other chemical compounds, is known to cause low toxicity to animals and the acute oral LD50 to rats and guinea pigs ranges from 8000 to 9000 mg/kg.
Triethanolamine was found to be a moderate eye irritant.
A 5%–10% solution of triethanolamine did not induce skin irritation or skin sensitization.
Studies of Inoue et al. and many other workers have indicated the absence of the mutagenic potential of triethanolamine as evidenced by both in vivo and in vitro studies (Salmonella typhimurium tests, Chinese hamster ovary cells, and rat liver chromosome analysis). Further, extensive studies have demonstrated the absence of potential carcinogenicity of triethanolamine in rats and mice, suggesting a low or lack of acute or chronic toxicity of the chemical to mammals.
Special Hazards of Combustion Products: Poisonous gases, such as NOx, may be produced
Reactivity with Water No reaction; Reactivity with Common Materials: No reactions; Stability During Transport: Stable; Neutralizing Agents for Acids and Caustics: Dilute with water; Polymerization: Not pertinent; Inhibitor of Polymerization: Not pertinent.
Triethanolamine is widely used in topical pharmaceutical formulations, primarily in the formation of emulsions.
When mixed in equimolar proportions with a fatty acid, such as stearic acid or oleic acid, triethanolamine forms an anionic soap with a pH of about 8, which may be used as an emulsifying agent to produce fine-grained, stable oil-in-water emulsions. Concentrations that are typically used for emulsification are 2–4% v/v of triethanolamine and 2–5 times that of fatty acids. In the case of mineral oils, 5% v/v of triethanolamine will be needed, with an appropriate increase in the amount of fatty acid used. Preparations that contain triethanolamine soaps tend to darken on storage. However, discoloration may be reduced by avoiding exposure to light and contact with metals and metal ions.
Triethanolamine is also used in salt formation for injectable solutions and in topical analgesic preparations. It is also used in sun screen preparations.
Triethanolamine is used as an intermediate in the manufacturing of surfactants, textile specialties, waxes, polishes, herbicides, petroleum demulsifiers, toilet goods, cement additives, and cutting oils. Triethanolamine is also claimed to be used for the production of lubricants for the rubber gloves and textile industries. Other general uses are as buffers, solvents, and polymer plasticizers, and as a humectant.
Triethanolamine undergoes reactions characteristic of tertiary amines and of alcohols. Two industrially important reactions of the ethanolamines involve reaction with carbon dioxide or hydrogen sulfide to yield water soluble salts, and reaction with long chain fatty acids to form neutral ethanolamine soaps (Mullins 1978). Substituted ethanolamine compounds, such as soaps, are used extensively as emulsifiers, thickeners, wetting agents, and detergents in cosmetic formulations (including skin cleaners, creams, and lotions) (Beyer et al 1983).
The largest uses for triethanolamine are in the production of fatty acid soaps and detergents and in cosmetic formulations. In cosmetics, triethanolamine is an important raw material and is used in combination with fatty acids as emulsifiers for creams, lotions, skin cleaners, and shampoos. Triethanolamine is also used in cement and concrete to reduce particle agglomeration within the grinding mill; as an antistatic agent in the textile industry; in the metal industry for metal plating and in alkaline derusting formulations; in the rubber industry as a vulcanization accelerator; and in the manufacture of herbicides and pesticides. Triethanolamine may also be used as a surface active agent in cutting fluids; as an absorption agent for acidic gases in air pollution control; as a component of coating on fruits and vegetables; as a solvent for casein, shellac, and dyes; and as a penetrating agent for organic liquids in wood and paper (Bayer et al 1983; Mullins 1978; Windholz 1983). Triethanolamine is permitted in articles intended for use in the production, processing, or packaging of food (CFR 1981).
This emulsifying agent can be contained in many products such as cosmetics, topical medicines, metalworking cut- ting fluids, and color film developers. Traces may exist in other ethanolamines such as monoand diethanolamine. Contact allergy seems to be rarer than previously thought.
Moderately toxic by intraperitoneal route. Mildly toxic by ingestion. Liver and kidney damage have been demonstrated in animals from chronic exposure. A human and experimental skin irritant. An eye irritant. Questionable carcinogen with experimental carcinogenic data. Combustible liquid when exposed to heat or flame; can react vigorously with oxidizing materials. To fight fire, use alcohol foam, CO2, dry chemical. When heated to decomposition it emits toxic fumes of NOx and CN-.
Triethanolamine is used primarily as an emulsifying agent in a variety of topical pharmaceutical preparations. Although generally regarded as a nontoxic material, triethanolamine may cause hypersensitivity or be irritant to the skin when present in formulated products. The lethal human oral dose of triethanolamine is estimated to be 5–15 g/kg body-weight.
Following concern about the possible production of nitrosamines in the stomach, the Swiss authorities have restricted the use of triethanolamine to preparations intended for external use.
LD50 (guinea pig, oral): 5.3 g/kg
LD50 (mouse, IP): 1.45 g/kg
LD50 (mouse, oral): 7.4 g/kg
LD50 (rat, oral): 8 g/kg
Monoethanolamine is widely used in industry for scrubbing acid gases and in production of detergents and alkanolamide surfactants; to remove carbon dioxide and hydrogen from natural gas, to remove hydrogen sulfide and carbonyl sulfide; as an alkaline conditioning agent; as an intermediate for soaps, detergents, dyes, and textile agents. Diethanolamine is an absorbent for gases; a solubilizer for 2,4- dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D); and a softener and emulsifier intermediate for detergents. It also finds use in the dye and textile industry. Triethanolamine is used as plasticizers, neutralizer for alkaline dispersions; lubricant additive; corrosion inhibitor; and in the manufacture of soaps, detergents, shampoos, shaving preparations; face and hand creams; cements, cutting oils, insecticides, surface active agents; waxes, polishes, and herbicides.
Results of carcinogenicity studies have been controversial. Hoshino and Tanooka reported that triethanolamine in the diet of mice at levels of 0.03% or 0.3% caused a significant increase in the occurrence of tumors, both benign and malignant. Females showed a 32% increase, mostly of thymic lymphomas. The increase of all other tumors, in both sexes, was 8.2%. They also found that triethanolamine reacted with sodium nitrite to produce N-nitrosodiethanolamine and that the product caused mutagenesis in bacteria. Maekawa et al. reported that no carcinogenic activity was found when given orally to rats in drinking water at concentrations of 1% and 2% for 2 years. However, the dosage to females was halved after week 69 of treatment owing to nephrotoxicity. Histological examination of renal damage in treated animals revealed acceleration of chronic nephropathy, mineralization of the renal papilla, nodular hyperplasia of the pelvic mucosa, and pyelonephritis with or without papillary necrosis. Nephrotoxicity seemed to affect life span adversely, especially in females. Tumor incidence and histology were the same in the treated group as in controls.
Triethanolamine may turn brown on exposure to air and light.
The 85% grade of triethanolamine tends to stratify below 15℃; homegeneity can be restored by warming and mixing before use. Triethanolamine should be stored in an airtight container protected from light, in a cool, dry place.
See Monoethanolamine for further information.
UN2491 Ethanol amine or Ethanolamine solutions, Hazard class: 8; Labels: 8-Corrosive material.
Shake the amine gently with Linde type 4A molecular sieves for 24hours, filter and fractionate it under a vacuum, and preferably in the presence of N2. Store it in dark stoppered bottles under N2 as it is hygroscopic, and turns brown in air and light. It has a strong ammoniacal odour (like diethanolamine). It is miscible with H2O, MeOH and Me2CO, and its solubilities at 25o in n-heptane, Et2O and *C6H6 are 0.4%, 1.6% and 4.2%, respectively. [See diethanolamine above, Beilstein 4 IV 1524.]
Triethanolamine is a tertiary amine that contains hydroxy groups; it is capable of undergoing reactions typical of tertiary amines and alcohols. Triethanolamine will react with mineral acids to form crystalline salts and esters. With the higher fatty acids, triethanolamine forms salts that are soluble in water and have characteristics of soaps. Triethanolamine will also react with copper to form complex salts. Discoloration and precipitation can take place in the presence of heavy metal salts.
Triethanolamine can react with reagents such as thionyl chloride to replace the hydroxy groups with halogens. The products of these reactions are very toxic, resembling other nitrogen mustards.
Controlled incineration; incinerator equipped with a scrubber or thermal unit to reduce nitrogen oxides emissions
Included in the FDA Inactive Ingredients Database (rectal, topical, and vaginal preparations). Included in nonparenteral medicines licensed in the UK. Included in the Canadian List of Acceptable Non-medicinal Ingredients.
Like all ethanolamines, triethanolamine is industrially produced exclusively by the reaction of ethylene oxide with excess ammonia. The reaction takes place slowly and is accelerated by water. In all conventional processes, the reaction occurs in the liquid phase.
Adsorbents and absorbents
Agricultural chemicals (non-pesticidal)
Corrosion inhibitors and anti-scaling agents
Functional fluids (closed systems)
Lubricants and lubricant additives
Processing aids, not otherwise listed
Solvents (which become part of product formulation or mixture)
A pale yellow liquid that is hygroscopic and miscible in water.
It is an organic chemical compound and has a tertiary amine and a tri-alcohol.
It can be abbreviated as TEA or TEOA to distinguish it from triethylamine.
Uses: As a pH balancer in cosmetic preparations, as a complexing agent for aluminum ions in asqueous solutions, an organic additive in the grinding of cement clinker, and as a manufacturing agent of nitrogen mustards.
Agricultural Products (non-pesticidal)
Anti-Freeze and De-icing Products
Fabric, Textile, and Leather Products not covered elsewhere
Foam Seating and Bedding Products
Metal Products not covered elsewhere
Personal Care Products
These values are not intended for use in preparing specifications.
Corrosion Inhibitor, Grinding Aid, Intermediate, Neutralizing Agent, pH Regulator, Processing Agent, Reactive Agent, Urethane Foam Catalyst
Urethane Foam Manufacturing
Triethanolamine is used as a corrosion inhibitor in metal-cutting fluids, a curing agent for epoxy and rubber polymers, as a copper–triethanolaminecomplex to control freshwater algae on lakes and ponds and as a neutralizer–dispersing agent in agricultural herbicide formulations.
It is also extensively used in emulsifiers, thickeners and wetting agents in the formulation of consumer products such as
cosmetics, detergents, shampoos and other personal products.
Other applications of triethanolamine include: adhesives, antistatic agents, cement and concrete work, coatings, in electroless and electroplating, in fuels, printing inks, lithography, metal-cleaning and lubricating, mining, paint and pigments, petroleum and coal production, as a pharmaceutical intermediate and an ointment-emulsifier, in polymers and polymer production, rubber processing, soldering flux, textile finishing, polyurethane production and use and wood pulping.
Fatty acid soaps used in dry cleaning, cosmetics, shampoos, creams, waxes, cutting oils, household detergents, emulsions, wool scouring, textile antifume agent and water repellent, dispersion agent, corrosion inhibitor, softening, emulsifier, humectant and plasticizer, chelating agent, rubber accelerator, pharmaceutical alkalizing agent and catalyst for condensation etc.
In making emulsions with mineral and vegetable oils.
General description of Triethanolamine:
Triethanolamine (TEA) belongs to the family of ethanolamine.
Triethanolamine includes the properties of both amines and alcohols.
Addition of TEA to an acidic buffer facilitates the determination of fluoride in inorganic orthophosphates by using a fluoride-selective electrode.
Applications of Triethanolamine:
Triethanolamine (TEA) has been used:
-as a component of the acetylation working solution
-in the preparation of polyethylene glycol (PEG) hydrogels
-as a constituent of CO2/O2 specificity (SC/O) assay buffer
Molecular weight: 149.1882
IUPAC Standard InChI:
Download the identifier in a file.
INChI Trust 2011 Certified Logo
IUPAC Standard InChIKey: GSEJCLTVZPLZKY-UHFFFAOYSA-N
CAS Registry Number: 102-71-6
Triethanolamine is used primarily in making surfactants, such as for emulsifier.
Triethanolamine is a common ingredient in formulations used for both industrial and consumer products.
The triethanolamine neutralizes fatty acids, adjusts and buffers the pH, and solubilizes oils and other ingredients that are not completely soluble in water.
Triethanolammonium salts in some cases are more soluble than salts of alkali metals that might be used otherwise, and results in less alkaline products than would from using alkali metal hydroxides to form the salt.
Some common products in which triethanolamine is found are sunscreen lotions, liquid laundry detergents, dishwashing liquids, general cleaners, hand sanitizers, polishes, metalworking fluids, paints, shaving cream and printing inks.
Cement production of Triethanolamine:
Triethanolamine is also used as organic additive (0.1 wt%) in the grinding of cement clinker.
Triethanolamine facilitates the grinding process by preventing agglomeration and coating of the powder at the surface of balls and mill wall.
Cosmetics and medicine
Various ear diseases and infections are treated with eardrops containing triethanolamine polypeptide oleate-condensate, such as Cerumenex in the United States.
In pharmaceutics, triethanolamine is the active ingredient of some eardrops used to treat impacted earwax.
Triethanolamine also serves as a pH balancer in many different cosmetic products, ranging from cleansing creams and milks, skin lotions, eye gels, moisturizers, shampoos, shaving foams,TEOA is a fairly strong base: a 1% solution has a pH of approximately 10, whereas the pH of skin is less than pH 7, approximately 5.5−6.0.
Cleansing milk–cream emulsions based on TEOA are particularly good at removing makeup.
What Is Triethanolamine?
"Triethanolamine (TEA) is a clear, colorless, thick liquid that smells a bit like ammonia because it has nitrogen at its center," Romanowski says.
As he explains Triethanolamine, triethanolamine is made by reacting ethylene oxide, which is derived from the petroleum industry, with ammonia, which is derived from air.
Triethanolamine's primarily used in product formulas to adjust the pH (which means the amount of acidity in something) and to emulsify immiscible fluids (in other words, fluids that don't mix well on their own).
Triethanolamine isn't used in any specific product types per se, but you'll find this stabilizer and pH adjuster in everything from cosmetics and fragrances to haircare and skincare.
In regards to skincare, in particular, triethanolamine can be found in a wide range of products: shaving gels and creams, sunscreens, lotions, serums, and cleansers.
THE GOOD: Balances the pH of the product’s formulations and helps to stabilize and thicken products
THE NOT SO GOOD:
It does not produce any benefit to the skin.
It is used only to improve the feeling of the product.
WHO IS IT FOR? Any skin type, unless an allergy to triethanolamine has been identified.
SYNERGETIC INGREDIENTS: Triethanolamine works with most ingredients and doesn’t change the other ingredients’ properties.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Triethanolamine should not be used in products containing N-nitrosating agents.
This restriction is due to the potential for interaction between N-nitrosating ingredients.
N-nitrosating compounds, like nitrates, mix with triethanolamine to produce carcinogenic nitrosamines.
Carcinogens are compounds that have the potential to cause cancer.
Triethanolamine is a colorless, viscous, hygroscopic liquid with a slight ammonia-like smell.
It is miscible with water and alcohol, soluble in chloroform, and slightly soluble in benzene and ether.
TEA is TRIETHANOLAMINE-99% which is an intermediate in the manufacture of cosmetics, surface-active agents, textile specialties, waxes and polishes, herbicides, petroleum demulsifiers, toilet goods, cement additives, cutting oils, and photographic film developers; corrosion inhibitor; dispersant for dyes, casein, shellac, and rubber latex; sequestering agents; a rubber chemicals intermediate.
Triethanolamine is commonly used in detergents, cosmetics, textiles, plastics, rubbers, and pharmaceuticals.
Applications range from emulsifying to water repelling to alkalizing.
We have helped multiple customers, from small end users to large Fortune 500 customers, with their Triethanolamine supply requirements and can ship bulk and various packaged products to meet such needs.
ALSO KNOWN AS
Triethylolamine; 2,2',2"-Trihydroxy-triethylamine; Tris(2-hydroxyethyl)amine; Trolamine; TEA; TEOA
Formula: C6H15NO3 / (CH2OHCH2)3N
Molecular mass: 149.2
Boiling point: 335.4°C
Melting point: 21.6°C
Relative density (water = 1): 1.1
Solubility in water: miscible
Vapour pressure, Pa at 25°C: <1
Relative vapour density (air = 1): 5.1
Relative density of the vapour/air-mixture at 20°C (air = 1): 1.0
Flash point: 179°C
Auto-ignition temperature: 324°C
Explosive limits, vol% in air: 3.6-7.2
Octanol/water partition coefficient as log Pow: -2.3
Physical State; Appearance
COLOURLESS VISCOUS HYGROSCOPIC LIQUID OR CRYSTALS WITH CHARACTERISTIC ODOUR.
The substance is a weak base.
Reacts with oxidants.
Decomposes on burning.
This produces toxic and corrosive fumes including nitrogen oxides.
What Are The Benefits of Triethanolamine?
Triethanolamine doesn’t provide any benefits to the skin.
It is only used in formulations to improve the texture and pH of a product.
One reason you may not have heard of triethanolamine is partly due to the lack of benefits it provides to the skin, but also due to the low concentrations present in the product.
Most countries regulate the usage of triethanolamine concentrations within the range of 2.5-5%, making it one of the last compounds on a product’s ingredients list.
Used in cosmetics as a pH balancer and emulsion stabilizer.
Like all amines, it has the potential for creating nitrosamines.
There’s controversy as to whether or not this poses a real problem for skin, given the low concentrations used in cosmetics and the theory that nitrosamines cannot penetrate skin.
Triethanaolime is typically used in amounts less than 1% in cosmetics; concentrations of 2.5% have been found to be non-irritating when applied to skin.
Triethanolamine is also added to foods.
Triethanolamine is regulated differently in the US and the EU.
The EU is known for its conservative approval of skincare ingredients and prohibits the use of many ingredients that are used in the US.
Under US regulation, concentrations less than 5% are approved for non-rinse off products and 2.5% in the EU.
‘Non-rinse off’ refers to products such as moisturizers and serums. The term ‘rinse-off’ applies to cleansers and body washes.
Rinse off products are under different classifications as they stay on the skin for shorter periods, allowing for varying levels of absorption into the skin.
All three of the various forms of triethanolamine meet approval requirements for use in non-rinse off products in both jurisdictions.
What Are Triethanolamine’s Uses in Skincare?
WHAT IS IT?
Triethanolamine, often abbreviated as TEA, is a viscous organic compound that is both a tertiary amine and a triol.
Triethanolamine is a strongly alkaline substance used as surfactant, pH adjusting chemical, fragrance ingredient, and emulsifying agent.
Treithanolamine is used in a variety of cosmetic and personal care products, including eyeliners, mascara, eye shadows, blushers, make-up bases and foundations, as well as in fragrances, hair care products, hair dyes, wave sets, shaving products, sunscreens, and skin care and skin cleansing products. Triethanolamine is FDA approved as an indirect food additive (aka it can be used in packaging) and CIR approved with concentration limits. The CIR determined that Triethanolamine was "safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products designed for discontinuous, brief use followed by thorough rinsing from the surface of the skin.
In products intended for prolonged contact with the skin, the concentration of Triethanolamine should not exceed 5%."
Triethanolamine's production and use as chemical intermediate in the manufacture of surfactants, personal care products, detergents, and corrosion inhibitors, especially in coolants for automotive engines and additives for lubricating fluids, for cutting oils and for milling cement may result in its release to the environment through various waste streams.
According to Cosmetic Ingredient Review, Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics, and the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there is strong evidence that Triethanolamine is a human skin, immune system and respiratory toxicant.
One or more animal studies show sense organ effects at very low doses, especially when used around the mouth, eyes and lips, and one or more in vitro tests on mammalian cells show positive mutation results.
It has been shown to cause bladder and liver cancer, as well as changes in testicles. According to OrganicConsumers.org, Triethanolamine can cause allergic reactions including eye problems, dryness of hair and skin, and could be toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time. It can cause itching, burning, scaling, hives, and blistering of skin, all symptoms which may increase with higher concentrations (The Green Beauty Guide).
Triethanolamine "should not be used in products containing N-nitrosating agents to prevent the formation of possibly carcinogenic nitrosamines."
pH and stability
Triethanolamine helps to neutralize ingredients that can increase the acidity of a product.
When the acidity of a product is too high, it can cause irritation and risk sensitization.
Triethanolamine is used in formulations in order for the benefits to be received without the risk of irritation from acidic ingredients.
Due to its structure, triethanolamine is an amphoteric compound, which means it can react as both an acid and a base, helping stabilize the pH to produce a resilient, long-lasting product.
Emulsifiers help mix oil and water-based ingredients together.
Triethanolamine can be difficult to get oil and water-based ingredients to mix well in a formulation and stay mixed.
Triethanolamine is used to bind water and oil together to avoid a product splitting or having uneven texture.
Triethanolamine’s structure has a hydrophilic side and a hydrophobic side.
Hydrophilic means it binds to water and hydrophobic means it binds to oil.
Triethanolamine helps to thicken the texture of products.
The thickness of a product is purely sensory and helps improve how the product feels on the skin.
But how a product feels is an integral part of the formulation process because no one wants to use a product that is lumpy or splits.
Is Triethanolamine Safe?
Some information on triethanolamine sounds frightening, particularly regarding the potential for cancer-causing substances.
This is due to the reaction between triethanolamine and N-nitrosating ingredients.
However, it is a far less scary ingredient than some articles suggest.
The N-nitrosating ingredients that can interact with triethanolamine in a formulation are highly regulated, making the likelihood of the formation of carcinogens reasonably low.
This reaction only occurs with diethanolamine and N-nitrosating ingredients, such as nitrates. Given that triethanolamine breaks down to produce diethanolamine in formulations, any product with triethanolamine needs to comply with the guidelines to omit N-nitrosating ingredients.
CAS number: 102-71-6
EC number: 203-049-8
Hill Formula: C₆H₁₅NO₃
Chemical formula: N(CH₂CH₂OH)₃
Molar Mass: 149.19 g/mol
HS Code: 2922 15 00
There have been rigorous evaluations of triethanolamine’s safety in cosmetics and skincare products, with the most recent review conducted in 2013 by the panel at Cosmetic Ingredient Review.
In 2013, an expert panel reviewed the safety profiles determined in 1983, 2010, and 2012.
The group found that the 31 related triethanolamine containing ingredients are safe when formulated within safety guidelines to be non-irritating.
This review led to the determination that triethanolamine is safe for use when there are no N-nitrosating ingredients present and with concentrations under 5%.
They also determined that there is no evidence that it is harmful or can cause long term health concerns.
EYES: First check the victim for contact lenses and remove if present.
Flush victim's eyes with water or normal saline solution for 20 to 30 minutes while simultaneously calling a hospital or poison control center.
Do not put any ointments, oils, or medication in the victim's eyes without specific instructions from a physician.
IMMEDIATELY transport the victim after flushing eyes to a hospital even if no symptoms (such as redness or irritation) develop.
SKIN: IMMEDIATELY flood affected skin with water while removing and isolating all contaminated clothing.
Gently wash all affected skin areas thoroughly with soap and water. IMMEDIATELY call a hospital or poison control center even if no symptoms (such as redness or irritation) develop. IMMEDIATELY transport the victim to a hospital for treatment after washing the affected areas.
INHALATION: IMMEDIATELY leave the contaminated area; take deep breaths of fresh air.
If symptoms (such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, or burning in the mouth, throat, or chest) develop, call a physician and be prepared to transport the victim to a hospital.
Provide proper respiratory protection to rescuers entering an unknown atmosphere. Whenever possible, Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) should be used; if not available, use a level of protection greater than or equal to that advised under Protective Clothing.
INGESTION: DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING. Corrosive chemicals will destroy the membranes of the mouth, throat, and esophagus and, in addition, have a high risk of being aspirated into the victim's lungs during vomiting which increases the medical problems.
If the victim is conscious and not convulsing, give 1 or 2 glasses of water to dilute the chemical and IMMEDIATELY call a hospital or poison control center.
IMMEDIATELY transport the victim to a hospital. If the victim is convulsing or unconscious, do not give anything by mouth, ensure that the victim's airway is open and lay the victim on his/her side with the head lower than the body.
DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING.
Transport the victim IMMEDIATELY to a hospital.
In the recommendations produced by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, formulations designed to sit on the skin for long periods such as a moisturizer or mascara should contain less than 5%.
This requirement, along with the need for products and containers to be free from N-nitrosating ingredients and nitrates, prevents any potential for carcinogen formation.
Studies published in the International Journal of Toxicology and Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology researched the safety of triethanolamine.
The analysis determined that triethanolamine is not classifiable as cancer-causing.
The studies suggest there is inadequate evidence for carcinogenicity in humans.
It also concluded that triethanolamine has low toxicity for humans.
There is a misconception about how these conclusions are interpreted.
It is generally thought that “inadequate evidence” means there hasn’t been enough research; however, it merely means that the studies conducted did not produce any indication that it is carcinogenic.
There is some evidence that at high concentrations, (greater than 5%), triethanolamine can cause some irritation on the skin.
While this reaction is rare, hypersensitive skin types should be aware of the potential irritation.
In rare cases, products containing triethanolamine may be contributing to sensitivity.
Some information on triethanolamine in the media describes negative effects on the respiratory system, skin, and eyes.
These effects are based on studies conducted on the manufacturing of triethanolamine.
This process works with high concentrations of triethanolamine and can be at risk of vaporization in warmer climates.
When improper safety protocols are in place, there is the potential for adverse reactions.
Symptoms may include mild irritation to eyes, respiratory irritation, and cumulative toxicity These symptoms are the result of exposure during the manufacturing process and are addressed by adhering to safety protocols.
When considering skincare, the concentrations are significantly lower, so risks are minimal.
Other Uses of Triethanolamine
Triethanolamine has other uses.
It is used as a lubricant in the textile industry to soften animal hides, and as an alkalizing agent in the pharmaceutical industry.
What Is It?
Triethanolamine (TEA), Diethanolamine (DEA) and Ethanolamine are clear, colorless, thick liquids with ammonia-like odors.
In cosmetics and personal care products, Triethanolamine may be used in some makeup products such as eyeliner, mascara, eye shadow, blush, make-up bases and foundations, as well as in fragrances, hair care products, hair dyes, wave sets, shaving products, sunscreens, and skin care and skin cleansing products.
Ethanolamine may be used in some permanent waves and hair dyes and colors.
Diethanolamine itself is rarely used in cosmetics, but derivatives of DEA may be used in shampoos and cleansing products.
Why is it used in cosmetics and personal care products?
TEA, DEA and Ethanolamine help to form emulsions by reducing the surface tension of the substances to be emulsified so that water-soluble and oil-soluble ingredients can be blended together.
They are also used to control the pH of cosmetics and personal care products.
Air & Water Reactions
Special Hazards of Combustion Products: Poisonous gases, such as NOx, may be produced (USCG, 1999)
Liquid may irritate eyes and skin. (USCG, 1999)
TRIETHANOLAMINE is an aminoalcohol. Neutralize acids to form salts plus water in exothermic reactions. Amines may be incompatible with isocyanates, halogenated organics, peroxides, phenols (acidic), epoxides, anhydrides, and acid halides. Flammable gaseous hydrogen is generated in combination with strong reducing agents, such as hydrides. Reacts violently with strong oxidants. [Handling Chemicals Safely 1980. p. 928].
Oily liquid with a mild ammonia odor. Denser than water. Freezing point is 71°F.
DEA itself is rarely used in products, but may be combined with other substances and converted into a new ingredient (i.e., DEA salt) that is no longer chemically identical with DEA. This “chemical reaction” leads to a new substance that is very stable and does not easily come apart. Cocamide DEA and lauramide DEA are examples of such ingredients.
The DEA salts function as surfactants, emulsifying agents, viscosity increasing agents, hair or skin conditioning agents, foam boosters, or antistatic agents. It should be noted that DEA and derivatives of DEA are used in other products besides cosmetics and personal care products. For example, DEA and derivatives of DEA have been approved for several food-related applications, primarily food packaging. As with any chemical reaction, there may be unavoidable small amounts of the starting materials (in this case, DEA) carried into the final product.
These low, residual levels do not impact the use or performance of the new ingredients and the levels are controlled to safe levels during manufacture. TEA is more commonly used in cosmetics and functions as a surfactant or pH adjuster.
Other TEA-containing ingredients function as surfactants and hair- or skin-conditioning agents. Ethanolamine functions as a pH adjuster.
The majority of its salts function as surfactants; some of the ethanolamine salts function as pH adjusters, hair fixatives, or preservatives.
Benefits of Triethanolamine for Skin
Triethanolamine might not have any particular benefits for the skin, but it does function in a few different ways to help the overall products that it's used in work better and last longer.
Why Is Triethanolamine In My Skincare Product?
Triethanolamine might not be an ingredient you’ve heard of before, or perhaps you’ve seen it on a product label and wanted to know more.
Triethanolamine sounds like a complex ingredient, but as is the case with many polysyllabic skincare ingredients, the name is as intimidating as it gets.
Triethanolamine is found in skincare and cosmetic products such as moisturizers, eyeliners, mascaras, hair care, and sunscreens.
It stabilizes and increases the pH of products to improve the way they feel and interact with the skin.
Triethanolamine is also a non-active compound, which means it doesn’t have any effect on the skin; it’s only used to make products more stable and improve texture.
Triethanolamine is a compound with a slight ammonia smell; think of hair dyes.
The thick, colorless liquid helps reduce the surface tension of products.
It also helps to mix oil and water-based products to create a smooth, stable formulation.
Triethanolamine is also involved in controlling the pH of products, making it an excellent ingredient for naturally acidic formulations.
There are two other compounds with similar structures to triethanolamine and they’re often associated with each triethanolamine.
The first is diethanolamine, used as a pH adjuster and foam booster in hair conditioning products and the second is ethanolamine, which is used in hair sprays.
While these compounds have a similar structure, their differences are significant in determining their function.
All three are safe for their approved uses in a review conducted by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review.
The process of manufacturing triethanolamine involves reacting 3-parts of ethylene oxide with 1-part ammonia.
Ethylene oxide is a gaseous byproduct of petroleum production, and ammonia is made from gases naturally found in the air that we breathe.
This process produces triethanolamine as well as diethanolamine and ethanolamine.
This mixture later gets separated and tested for purity.
It needs to meet the 99% requirements for purity to be approved.
Balances pH: According to Schultz, triethanolamine can neutralize things that throw acidity and alkalinity off balance.
"The reason that’s important is because a pH that’s out of the neutral range has a higher chance of causing irritation," he says.
Emulsifies: For an oil and a non-oil substance to mix together, you need a chemical that will hold them together, aka an emulsifier or a stabilizer.
"We call those products amphoteric because they both have an oil-binding side and a water-binding side," Schultz explains.
"The bottom line is, they get immiscible fluids to play nicely together and to become miscible." Without the use of an emulsifier, the oil and water would settle out and separate (the water would be up on top, the oil would be on the bottom) and you would not have an effective product.
Stabilizes emulsions: As an emulsifier or stabilizer, triethanolamine helps emulsions, such as creams and lotions, last longer, according to Romanowski.
Thickens the formula: Schultz adds that as far as sensory or aesthetic benefits, triethanolamine also helps the thicken and add body to the formula.
CAS number: 102-71-6
EC number: 203-049-8
Hill Formula: C₆H₁₅NO₃
Chemical formula: N(CH₂CH₂OH)₃
Molar Mass: 149.19 g/mol
HS Code: 2922 15 00
Boiling point: 360 °C (1013 hPa) (decomposition)
Density 1.124 g/cm3 (20 °C)
Explosion limit 3.6 - 7.2 %(V)
Flash point: 179 °C
Ignition temperature: 325 °C DIN 51794
Melting Point: 20.5 °C
pH value: 10.5 - 11.5 (149 g/l, H₂O, 25 °C)
Vapor pressure: <0.01 hPa (20 °C)
Storage class 10 - 13 Other liquids and solids
WGK: WGK 1 slightly hazardous to water
LD 50 oral: LD50 Rat > 5000 mg/kg
LD 50 dermal: LD50 Rabbit > 2000 mg/kg
Assay (acidimetric, calc. on anhydrous substance): 99.0 - 103.0 %
Identity (IR-spectrum) passes test
Identity (GC) conforms
Appearance: colorless to slightly yellow viscose liquid
Appearance of solution: Clear and not more intense in colour than reference solution B₆
Clarity of solution: passes test
PH (1.0 g in 10 ml water): 10.5 - 11.5
Refractive index (n 20/D): 1.482 - 1.485
Relative Density (d 20/20): 1.120 - 1.130
Relative Density (d 25/25): 1.120 - 1.128
Heavy metals (as Pb): ≤ 0.0010 %
As (Arsenic): ≤ 0.000075 %
Fe (Iron): ≤ 0.0001 %
Related substances (Ethanolamine, GC) ≤ 0.1 %
Related substances (Diethanolamine, GC) ≤ 0.5 %
Related substances (total impurity, GC) ≤ 1.0 %
Related substances (N-Nitrosodiethanolamine, GC) ≤ 24 ppb
Residual solvents (ICH Q3C) ...excluded by production process
Sulfated ash (600 °C) ≤ 0.05 %
Water (according to Karl Fischer) ≤ 0.5 %
Endotoxins: ≤ 2.5 I.U./ml
Use of Triethanolamine
Triethanolamine is a viscous organic compound that is both a tertiary amine and a triol.
Triethanolamine (TEOA) can be used for chromatographic modification reagent that possesses some chemical properties.
Triethanolamine (TEA) is applied as a stabilizer and pH adjusting chemical for the aminolysis of polyester surface and enhancing the surface reactivity along with synthesis and deposition of ZnO nanoparticles on the fabric.
Side Effects of Triethanolamine
If you've done your research on triethanolamine, you might've come across scary information involving the formation of possibly carcinogenic nitrosamines when it's used with certain ingredients (N-nitrosating agents) during manufacturing.
So first, let's clear the air.
Romanowski says that the ingredient is not dangerous to use at cosmetic levels and is safe when delivered from a standard cosmetic product.
"Toxicology experts have reviewed the safety testing and data on TEA and have concluded that the products on the market today and the levels of TEA used are not unsafe," he says.
"There is no evidence of a problem with longterm exposure.
This is just standard chemical fear mongering." Schultz adds, "There is no known link to cancer."
As for other side effects, Schultz points out that there is a risk of irritation or allergy at certain concentrations, especially above 5%, which should be avoided. "It does not bother most people, but if you are having irritation from a skincare product and you don’t know what’s causing it, look at the ingredient deck," Schultz suggests.
"If this is one of the ingredients in it, consider that that may be the particular ingredient used that’s causing it and look for a comparable product without that ingredient and see if that makes a difference."
How to Use Triethanolamine:
Because Triethanolamine's included in such a wide range of products, the application of formulas containing triethanolamine depends on the specific product in question.
And since it offers no benefit to the skin, Romanowski says that no one should go out of their way to use triethanolamine.
"From a consumer standpoint, triethanolamine is not something they need to think about," Romanowski says. As far as how often is safe, as long as you do not have an allergy to it and the products are used as intended, Schultz says it's okay to use it on a daily basis.
The Best Products With Triethanolamine
Although triethanolamine isn't an ingredient used for skin benefits, you'll find the ph adjuster and stabilizer in many of our favorite skincare products listed below.
This cult-favorite ferulic acid serum needs no introduction, but because we're so obsessed, we'll give you the rundown anyway.
Packed with antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E, and of course, ferulic acid, this serum aims to protect against free radical damage, brighten the skin, and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
CAS Number: 102-71-6
Molecular Weight: 149.19
Beilstein/REAXYS Number: 1699263
EC Number: 203-049-8
MDL number: MFCD00002855
PubChem Substance ID: 57653380
vapor density: 5.14 (vs air)
vapor pressure: 0.01 mmHg ( 20 °C)
assay: ≥99.0% (GC)
autoignition temp.600 °F
expl. lim.: 8.5 %
≤0.1% ethanolamine (GC)
≤0.3% diethanolamine (GC)
n20/D 1.485 (lit.)
pH: 10.5-11.5 (25 °C, 149 g/L)
useful pH range: 7.3 - 8.3
Irritating to eyes. May cause an allergic skin reaction.
Wear personal protective equipment.
Ensure adequate ventilation.
Wash off immediately with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes.
Obtain medical attention.
Rinse immediately with plenty of water, also under the eyelids, for at least 15 minutes.
Obtain medical attention.
Move to fresh air.
If breathing is difficult, give oxygen.
Obtain medical attention.
Obtain medical attention.
Do not induce vomiting.
What are some products that may contain triethanolamine?
Triethanolamine is a coating ingredient for fresh fruit and vegetables and is widely used in surfactants and as a dispersing ingredient and detergent in hand and body lotions, shaving creams, soaps, shampoos, and bath powders.
In the laboratory and in amateur photography
Another common use of TEOA is as a complexing agent for aluminium ions in aqueous solutions.
This reaction is often used to mask such ions before complexometric titrations with another chelating agent such as EDTA.
TEOA has also been used in photographic (silver halide) processing.
Triethanolamine has been promoted as a useful alkali by amateur photographers.
Most often, cosmetics products need to be extremely stable to have a long shelf life in order to be stored, handled, shipped etc.
This is why emulsifiers, stabilisers and preservatives are often added in large quantities, which tends to create thick creams loaded with synthetic ingredients.
At Lush, we like them to glide on seamlessly and feel lightweight on the skin.
This makes the stability more fragile which is why they are best used as fresh as possible; but in exchange, the product can be filled with fresh flowers, fruits and other beneficial plants.
Triethanolamine (TEA) is a common emulsifier used in a vast array of cosmetics, detergents and pharmaceuticals.
Cosmetic creams and lotions are often composed of water and oil-based ingredients, which are held together by substances called emulsifiers.
Without emulsifiers, the formula would separate, causing oil droplets to float on top of the water.
When triethanolamine is mixed with stearic acid (an acid that is naturally present in butters, oils and waxes - but can also be added separately), it reacts and transforms into a paste called triethanolamine stearate. The paste is emulsifying and helps to create a loose emulsion which is easily absorbed by the skin. If the correct amount of stearic acid is used, triethanolamine will be fully dissolved during the chemical process.
This means that it is no longer present in the finished product.
TEOA is used to provide a sensitivity boost to silver-halide-based holograms, and also as a swelling agent to color shift holograms.
Triethanolamine is possible to get the sensitivity boost without color shift by rinsing out the TEA before squeegee and drying.
In electroless plating
TEOA is now commonly and very effectively used as a complexing agent in electroless plating.
Melting Point: 70.9 ° F (NTP, 1992)
Vapor Pressure: less than 0.01 mm Hg at 68 ° F ; 10 mm Hg at 401° F (NTP, 1992)
Vapor Density (Relative to Air): 5.14 (NTP, 1992)
Specific Gravity: 1.13 at 68 ° F (USCG, 1999)