Potential bleach activators with improved imide hydrolytic stability

Ziyuan Song, Xue Chen, Zhiyu Wang, Steve King, Haoyuan Yan, Kaimin Cai, Jianjun Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The commercially available bleach activator, N,N,N′,N′-tetraacetylethylenediamine (TAED), has been widely used in laundry detergents to enable efficient low-temperature bleaching. However, the competitive hydrolysis of TAED limits its use in liquid detergents. Herein we report the synthesis of two TAED derivatives, N,N,N′,N′-tetracetylpropylene-1,2-diamine (TA(Me)ED) and N,N,N′-triacetylpropylene-1,2-diamine (TriA(Me)ED), through the acetylation of propylene-1,2-diamine. The hydrolytic and perhydrolytic activity of the imide molecules were studied by HPLC to elucidate the structure–function relationship. Due to the increased steric hindrance imparted by the α-methyl group close to the imide, TA(Me)ED and TriA(Me)ED exhibited higher hydrolytic stability than TAED, with the hydrolytic rate constants (kH) at pH 8.0 decreased by 58% and 84% for TA(Me)ED and TriA(Me)ED, respectively. On the other hand, TA(Me)ED and TriA(Me)ED showed comparable perhydrolytic activity with TAED in the presence of peroxide, enabling similar bleaching effect of a model food dye at room temperature. These results suggest these TAED derivatives may have potential being used as improved bleach activators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-185
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Industrial Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Bleach activator
  • Hydrolysis
  • Imides
  • Perhydrolysis
  • Steric hindrance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Chemistry

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