The ester is a colourless liquid which boils at 294 °C under normal pressure. The vapour pressure function according to Antoine is:
log10(P) = A-(B/(T+C)) (P in kPa, T in K) with A = 3.88263, B = 1743.204 and C = -122.435 in the temperature range from 380 K to 567 K. Above the flash point Citric acid triethyl ester forms flammable vapour-air mixtures. The flash point is at 150 °C
Molar mass: 276.29 g-mol-1
state of aggregation: liquid
Density: 1.135 g-cm-3 (25 °C)
Melting point: -55 °C
Boiling point: 294 °C
Vapour pressure: 0.0025 Pa (25 °C)
1.3 hPa (107 °C)
– poor in water (65 g-l-1 at 25 °C)
– miscible with ethanol and diethyl ether
Refractive index: 1.4455 (20 °C)
Conventional plasticizers based on phthalic acid esters have fallen into disrepute because of their harmful effects on health and the environment. Citric acid esters such as triethyl citrate can be used as a non-toxic alternative. It is used as an artificial carrier and stabilizer in foods, deodorants, polymers and pesticides.
It is approved in the EU as a food additive under the designation E 1505 exclusively for flavouring and egg white powder.