Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG), also known as poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO), polyoxyethylene (POE) and under the tradename Carbowax is the most commercially important type of polyether. PEG, PEO or POE refers to an oligomer or polymer of ethylene oxide. The three names are chemically synonymous, but historically PEG has tended to refer to oligomers and polymers with a molecular mass below 20,000 g/mol, PEO to polymers with a molecular mass above 20,000 g/mol, and POE to a polymer of any molecular mass.2 PEG and PEO are liquids or low-melting solids, depending on their molecular weights. PEGs are prepared by polymerization of ethylene oxide and are commercially available over a wide range of molecular weights from 300 g/mol to 10,000,000 g/mol. While PEG and PEO with different molecular weights find use in different applications and have different physical properties (e.g., viscosity) due to chain length effects, their chemical properties are nearly identical. Different forms of PEG are also available dependent on the initiator used for the polymerization process, the most common of which is a monofunctional methyl ether PEG (methoxypoly(ethylene glycol)), abbreviated mPEG.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golytely

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