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the first of three organic compounds that can be derived from ammonia by successively replacing the hydrogen atoms with hydroxyethyl radicals (CH2CH2OH), the others being diethanolamine and triethanolamine. The three are widely used in industry, principally as absorbents for acidic components (e.g., carbon dioxide) of natural gas and of petroleum-refinery gas streams. As salts (soaps) with fatty acids, they are used as emulsifiers in numerous household and industrial products. Triethanolamine is a corrosion inhibitor for automobile antifreeze solutions and airplane-engine coolants. The ethanolamines are commercially prepared by the reaction of ammonia and ethylene oxide.