Tetrahydrofuran (also known as tetramethylene oxide, and THF) is a clear, colourless, volatile, and water-miscible liquid. It has low viscosity at standard temperature and has the formula C4H8O.
The world annual production of tetrahydrofuran is approximately 200,000 tonnes and it is predicted that demand and production will grow as the Chinese economy continues to expand.
Storage and Distribution
Tetrahydrofuran is stored in tightly sealed metal drums. It has a specific gravity of 0.89 and a flashpoint of -17.2° C (closed cup) and is highly flammable. It should be stored in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area that is free from the risk of ignition. For transportation purposes, tetrahydrofuran is classified as packing group III and hazard class 3 and should be labeled as an irritant.
Tetrahydrofuran(THF) has many uses in the industrial marketplace. It is a versatile industrial solvent for natural and synthetic resins and is a solvent used in the production of nylon. It is also an industrial solvent for PVC.
Tetrahydrofuran(THF) is also a valuable chemical intermediate as it is a precursor to polymers, such as poly (tetramethylene ether) glycol. The primary use of this polymer is the production of elastomeric polyurethane fibres like Spandex. It is also an intermediate in the natural gas industry where it is a natural gas odourant.
It is also used as a reaction medium, primarily in the pharmaceutical industry, in processes such as Grignard syntheses or lithium aluminium hydride reductions.