How to Test Ethylene & Propylene Glycol

by Andrew Breslin

Ethylene glycol and propylene glycol are the major constituents of antifreeze. Operating an automobile without proper antifreeze can cause permanent damage, so testing ethylene and propylene glycol is an important component of proper vehicle maintenance. Fortunately, there are a number of reliable methods available to evaluate antifreeze quality.

1

Use CoolTrak coolant test strips (kimdon.com) to test a sample of ethylene or propylene glycol based coolants. Dip the strip in the test substance to indicate the boiling point, freezing point and PH. Both the U.S. military and the U.S. postal service have used this methodology for testing the antifreeze of its vehicles.

2

Increase accuracy by using a refractometer. This is a small device that is able to determine the freezing point of propylene glycol and ethylene glycol antifreeze solutions. Misco.com manufactures a refractometer designed for testing glycol based antifreeze. The manufacturers claim that it is the most accurate hand-held refractometer available.

3

Test for the presence of ethylene glycol in the bloodstream using the React ethylene glycol test kit (prnpharmacal.com). It's important to have diagnostic options available to ensure that your antifreeze is properly protecting your engines. Antifreeze is notoriously and dangerously appealing to companion animals. If you suspect your dog or cat might have ingested some, test it immediately, and follow up with appropriate medical treatments in the case of ethylene glycol poisoning.

Items you will need

About the Author

Andrew Breslin has been writing professionally since 1994. His articles and op-ed pieces have appeared in the "South Florida Sun Sentinel," "St Paul Pioneer Press," "Detroit Free Press," "Charlotte Observer," “Good Medicine,” and others. He studied molecular biology at Westchester University and frequently writes about science and mathematics.

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