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Sorbitan esters

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SORBITAN ESTERS - structure and obtaining

Sorbitan esters belong to non-ionic surfactants. The raw material for their production is sorbitol, a six-hydroxy sugar alcohol, obtained by reducing glucose. This reaction changes the aldehyde group to hydroxyl group. Sorbitol during dehydration loses one molecule of water, forming sorbitan, i.e. a mixture of cyclic ethers. It consists of 15% tetrahydropyran and 85% tetrahydrofuran. Further dehydration results in the formation of a bicyclic derivative called sorbide.