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1,4-Butanediol (1,4-B, butylene glycol, or BDO) is a thick, colourless liquid which is nearly odorless with a distinct bitter taste.
1,4-Butanediol is used industrially as a solvent and in the manufacture of some types of plastics, elastic fibers and polyurethanes. In organic chemistry, 1,4-butanediol is used for the synthesis of γ-butyrolactone (GBL). In the presence of phosphoric acid and high temperature, it dehydrates to the important solvent tetrahydrofuran.At about 200 °C in the presence of soluble ruthenium catalysts, the diol undergoes dehydrogenation to form butyrolactone.
In humans, it acts as a depressant and a prodrug for GHB where 1ml is equivalent to 1g of GHB. It is used as a recreational intoxicant with effects similar to alcohol.
World production of 1,4-butanediol was claimed to be about one million metric tons per year.Almost half of it is dehydrated to tetrahydrofuran to make fibers such as Spandex.
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