Gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL) is a chemical compound, considered the simplest 4-carbon lactone. The preferred IUPAC name of the substance is oxolan-2-one. Besides, it is known to chemists under various names, among which dihydrofuran-2(3H)-one, butyrolactone, 1,4-lactone, etc. The chemical formula of the compound is C4H6O2. Its CAS registry number is 96-48-0.


γ-Butyrolactone is a clear colorless oily liquid with faint caramel odor. The substance is highly hygroscopic. It is miscible in water, and soluble in methanol, ethanol, benzene, ethyl ether, and acetone. Basic characteristics of the chemical are:

  • Molar mass: 86.09 g·mol−1;
  • Density: 1.1296 g/mL at 20 °C;
  • Melting point: −43.53 °C;
  • Boiling point: 204 °C

Gamma-butyrolactone is a naturally occurring component. It may be present in unadulterated wines and similar products.

Preparation and Uses

Industrially, γ-butyrolactone is prepared by dehydrogenation of 1,4-butanediol. In lab, it is often produced by the oxidation of tetrahydrofuran (THF).

The main role of gamma-butyrolactone is to be a precursor to other chemicals, like pyrrolidone, NMP, etc. In lotions and some polymers, it is used as a solvent. Besides, mixed with a small quantity of ethylene glycol, this chemical can be found in batteries as the organic solvent.

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