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glycolic acid[glī′käl·ik ′as·əd]
the simplest acyclic hydroxy acid, HOCH2COOH. Colorless, odorless crystals; melting point, 79°-80°C; dissociation constant K = 1.5 × 10-4. Readily soluble in water and organic solvents. It is present in unripe grapes and in beet juice. Glycolic acid is made industrially by hydrolysis of monochloroacetic acid, by electrolytic reduction of oxalic acid, or by condensing carbon monoxide with formaldehyde under pressure in the presence of acid catalysts. Glycolic acid is used in the textile industry (in dyeing), in the leather industry, and as a component of mixtures for cleaning metal surfaces.