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E 462 Ethyl cellulose - EU specification

COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) No 231/2012 of 9 March 2012


Cellulose ethyl ether


Ethyl cellulose is cellulose obtained directly from fibrous plant material and partially etherified with ethyl groups


Chemical name: Ethyl ether of cellulose

Chemical formula: The polymers contain substituted anhydroglucose units with the following general formula:

C 6 H 7 O 2 (OR 1 )(OR 2 ) where R 1 and R 2 may be any of the following:

— H

— CH 2 CH 3

Molecular weight:

Assay: Content not less than 44 % and not more than 50 % of ethoxyl groups (-OC 2 H 5 ) on the dried basis (equivalent to not more than 2,6 ethoxyl groups per anhydroglucose unit)


Slightly hygroscopic white to off-white, odourless and tasteless powder


Solubility: Practically insoluble in water, in glycerol and in propane-1,2-diol but soluble in varying proportions in certain organic solvents depending upon the ethoxyl content. Ethyl cellulose containing less than 46 to 48 % of ethoxyl groups is freely soluble in tetrahydrofuran, in methyl acetate, in chloroform and in aromatic hydrocarbon ethanol mixtures. Ethyl cellulose containing 46 to 48 % or more of ethoxyl groups is freely soluble in ethanol, in methanol, in toluene, in chloroform and in ethyl acetate

Film forming test: Dissolve 5 g of the sample in 95 g of an 80:20 (w/w) mixture of toluene ethanol. A clear, stable, slightly yellow solution is formed. Pour a few ml of the solution onto a glass plate and allow the solvent to evaporate. A thick, tough, continuous, clear film remains. The film is flammable

pH: Neutral to litmus (1 % colloidal solution)


Loss on drying: Not more than 3 % (105 °C, 2 hours)

Sulphated ash: Not more than 0,4 %

Arsenic: Not more than 3 mg/kg

Lead: Not more than 2 mg/kg

Mercury: Not more than 1 mg/kg

Cadmium: Not more than 1 mg/kg