The application of a surfactant group

A discussion of the application of a surfactant group that is rather new-not so much as a compound, but in its more sophisticated properties and applications-must include economic aspects such as its probable position in the surfactant market. Surfactants constitute a multitude of surface-active agents, but a group of only about 10 different types form the surfactant market. Important application of a compound can be expected only when it belongs to this group. Thus, besides being efficient and safe for the environment, the product has to be available on a reasonable cost basis, comparable to or even more advantageous than those of surfactants already estabilished in the market.

Before 1995, the most important surfactant is still ordinary soap, in use for some thousands of years. it is followed by alkylbenzene sulfonate and polyoxyethylene alkyl ethers, both strongly represented in all forms of detergents, which are the main outlet for surfactants. Whereas alkylbenzene sulfonate is considered the “workhorse” of laundry detergents, fatty alcohol sulfate and ether sulfate are the dominant surfactants for personal care products. From applicational studies it was found that alkyl polyglucosides, among others, could pay a role in both fields. they can be combined with other nonionic surfactants to good advantage for heavy duty laundry detergents and with sulfate surfactants in light duty detergents, as well as in personal care applications. Thus, surfactants that can be replaced by alkyl polyglucosides include linear alkylbenzene sulfonate and sulfate surfactants, in addition to higher priced specialties such as betaines and amine oxides.

An estimate of the substitution potential of alkyl polyglucosides has to make allowance for production costs, which turn out to be in the higher range among sulfate surfactants. Thus, alkyl polyglucosides will be used on a large scale not only due to “green waves” and environmental concern but also due to production costs and as expected from many physicochemical properties, their outstanding performance in many fields of application.

Alkyl polyglucosides will be of interest wherever temperatures are not too high and the medium is not too acidic because the are acetals of a sugar structure that hydrolyze to fatty alcohol and glucose. long-term stability is given at 40℃ and PH≥4. At neutral PH under spray-drying conditions, temperatures up to 140℃ do not destroy the product.

Alkyl polyglucosides will be attractive for use wherever their excellent surfactant performance and favorable ecotoxicological  properties are desired, i.e., in cosmetics and in household products. but their very low inter-facial tensions, high dispersing power, and easily controlled foaming make them attractive for many technical applications. the ability to apply a surfactant depends not only on its own properties but even more on its performance when combined with other surfactants. Being slightly anionic, or betaine surfactants. Making allowance for clouding phenomena. they are also compatible with cationic surfactants.

In many cases alkyl polyglucosides exhibit favorable synergistic effects in combination with other surfactants, and the practical application of these effects is reflected in the figure of more than 500 patent applications since 1981. these cover dishwasing; light duty and heavy duty detergents; all-purpose cleaners; alkaline cleaners; personal care products such as shampoos, shower gels, lotions, and emulsions; technical dispersions such as color pastes; formulations for foam inhibitors;demulsifiers; plant protection agents;lubricants;hydraulic fluids; and oil production chemicals, to name a few.

Post time: Dec-03-2021