1,4-Butanediol, colloquially known as BD, is the organic compound with the formula HOCH2CH2CH2CH2OH. This colorless viscous liquid is derived from butane by placement of alcohol groups at each end of the chain. It is one of four stable isomers of butanediol.
In its industrial synthesis, acetylene reacts with two equivalents of formaldehyde to form 1,4-butynediol. This type of acetylene-based process is illustrative of what is known as "Reppe chemistry", after German chemist Walter Reppe. Hydrogenation of 1,4-butynediol gives 1,4-butanediol.
LyondellBasell manufactures 1,4-butanediol in a multi-step process without the use of acetylene. First, propylene oxide is converted to allyl alcohol. The allyl alcohol is then hydroformylated to 4-hydroxybutyraldehyde. Hydrogenation of this aldehyde yields 1,4-butanediol. Portions of content adapted from Wikipedia's article on 1,4-Butanediol which is released under the CC BY-SA 3.0.
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