There are several names for this compound, including polyethylene oxide or polyoxyethylene. The application of these names depends on the varying molecular weight.
Polyethylene glycol has a variable molecular formula consisting of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms that are found in each molecule in specific ratios. The number of carbon atoms is always even. The hydrogen atoms always amount to twice the carbon quantity plus two more atoms. Oxygen content is always half the carbon plus one atom.
The primary use for this substance today is in medicine. Many laxatives, especially those aimed at whole bowel irrigation before surgical procedures, depend primarily on it. In addition, it is added to certain medications to slow the removal of protein from the bloodstream. This generates longer effects from the underlying medicine.
There are other uses for this compound. At present, there are multiple investigations into new potential uses underway.