What Are Different Types of Solvents?

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According to The Dow Chemical Company, some of the most common solvents include terpenes, esters, alcohols, ketones and hydroxyethers. Each of these solvents belongs to a different family, such as hydrocarbons, which are known for their unique properties.

According to Master Organic Chemistry, solvents are liquids that provide the medium for a chemical reaction and serve one of two purposes. Solvents either dissolve reactants or participate in another reaction. Dissolving solvents are some of the most common, and they can be found in numerous household cleaning products and other items that require the dissolution of another substance.

The Dow Chemical Company explains that terpenes are a common solvent in the hydrocarbon family that is commonly used in cleaning products. Alcohols and ketones are also frequently used in the cleaning industry due to their low flash point. Esters are solvents that include lactates and other acids and are commonly used for industrial cleaning products. Hydroxyethers are part of a common, yet unusual, family of solvents that are used to add solvency to oils, fats and resins. Hydroxyethers can also dissolve polar compounds such as salt. Another common solvent is n-Propyl Bromide, which is used in various products for its inflammable properties.