Cellulose Ethers

Cellulose ethers are a range of organic agents produced by modification of cellulose, a naturally occurring long chain, glucose based compound. The substitution of hydroxyl groups within the chain produces a strongly hydrophilic powder that in general is soluble in cold water but insoluble in hot water.

This phenomenon gives cellulose ethers a broad range of applications, but primarily these are based on viscosity modification or water retention within a suspension of pigments or fillers. The actual functionality of the cellulose ether is dependent upon the level of hydroxyl substitution, leading to variations in viscosity changes when dissolved in water (or other solvents).

Applications and Uses:

Cellulose ethers are available in a variety of chemistries depending on what is used to substitute the hydroxyl groups (eg. Methyls, ethyls, hydroxyethyls, etc.) and so different grades are suitable for different applications. From simple viscosity modifiers in Industrial and Decorative paints and coatings to water retainers within Construction products like tile Adhesives and wall skims, where extended open times as well as reduced vertical slippage can be critical to the application.

As well as industrial applications like Adhesives and Sealants, cellulose ethers are used as food additives (offering thickening and emulsifying properties) and medicinal products (where its lubricating and water retention properties come to the fore). In the paper and board industry, cellulose ethers are used for sizing purposes, giving better water resistance to the finished product.


MegaChem (UK) Ltd is able to offer a comprehensive range of products to suit a wide variety of applications. Many of these products are stocked in the UK and are available for standard or express delivery. TDS, SDS and samples will be made available on request.

Please call us on + 44 (0) 1291 422747 or contact us for more information.

All products supplied by MegaChem (UK) Ltd comply fully with REACH and CLP legislation.