What does 56-81-5 stand for?

The CAS Number 56-81-5 stands for glycerine (also glycerin or glycerol), an organic chemical compound in the family of alcohols. This sugar alcohol is a propane triol. 
The exact chemical name is Propane-1,2,3-triol.

Structure and Use of CAS Numbers

The CAS number serves as a means of clearly identifying chemical substances. It has been assigned by Chemical Abstracts Service since 1965 and is the international identification standard for chemicals. In July 2015, the number of organic and inorganic substances registered in this system reached one million.

All CAS numbers consist of three numbers separated by hyphens. The first number consists of up to seven, the second of two digits. The third number has one digit, which serves as a plausibility check digit. CAS numbers are assigned in ascending order without an internal order.

CAS numbers are extremely useful aids in searches. Searches can be carried out with this number in numerous toxicologically relevant databases. A single search step is sufficient to trawl through one or several data directories to find available documents on a particular substance.

Chemical Abstracts Service publishes the commercial computer program SciFinder for database research. The limited version SciFinder Scholar is often used at universities.

Advantages of the CAS Numbers

As molecular formulas, trivial names and IUPAC names of chemical substances are not unambiguous, they lead to mistakes, made particularly by nonchemists. A CAS number, however, refers to exactly one chemical substance, e.g. 56-81-5 refers solely to pure glycerine.

Alloys, biosequences and polymers but also various isomers of a molecule can be reliably distinguished with the CAS number, irrespective of other names. 

56-81-5: Properties and Uses of Glycerine

At ambient temperature, glycerine is a colorless and odorless, sweet tasting and viscous liquid. The glycerine molecule is highly polar and thus easily soluble. Glycerine can be of either vegetable or petrochemical origin.

Glycerine with the CAS number 56-81-5 has an extremely broad range of applications. For example, it serves as a moisturizer in cosmetics, a lubricant, an antifreeze agent and emollient, but is also needed in the manufacture of colorings, plastics, microchips or toothpaste.

In the medical field, it is used either in tablet form or as an infusion for treating cerebral edema. Suppositories containg glycerine are inserted into the rectum as an osmotic laxative. Glycerine can also be used as a gargle, anesthetic, cough medicine, or an additive in antiseptics and antibiotics.

The food and beverage sector also offers numerous possible uses for the substance with the CAS number 56-81-5: it it used as a humectant and emollient in sausage casings, cheese rinds and casings for chocolates. It acts as a solvent for food colorings and flavors in soft drinks and confectionary.