Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) is an organic compound from a group a chemicals known as phthalates. It is used worldwide as a solvent (to dissolve other substances) and a plasticiser (to make other substances softer or more pliable). DBP is a versatile compound that is used in a wide range of products such as plastics, paints, inks, and cosmetics. The purpose of adding DBP to things like toys and plastics is to make them softer and more flexible.
DBP is produced by the reaction of n-butanol with phthalatic anhydride in the presence of concentrated sulphuric acid as a catalyst. Excess alcohol is recovered and recycled and di-n-butyl phthalate is purified by vacuum distillation and/or activated charcoal.
The largest usage of DBP in general is as a plasticizer in resins and polymers such as polyvinyl chloride. DBP is used in polyvinyl chloride plastic (PVC) to render it flexible
DBP is used in some polychloroprene rubber and nitrile rubber
DBP is used extensively in the adhesives industry to plasticize polyvinyl acetate (PVA) emulsions. The low viscosity and compatibility of DBP makes it suitable for PVA-based adhesives for bonding cellulosic materials.
DBP contents of 30-60% are found in polyurethane foams used in grouting applications for water control in tunnels, sewer systems, building, etc.
In cosmetics industry, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) is mainly used in nail products as a solvent for dyes and a plasticizer that prevents nail polishes from becoming brittle.
In the coatings industry, DBP is used as a primary plasticizer-solvent for nitrocellulose lacquers