Dow releases APEO-Free Surfactants for Pigment Dispersions

Dow Coating Materials (DCM), a global business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, announces a new addition to its product line of APEO-free surfactants. ECOSURF LF Surfactants are low-foam, high-performance additives for pigment dispersion that offer excellent pigment wetting and color acceptance, plus additional foam control through cloud point defoaming.

"ECOSURF LF Surfactants address the growing need for high performance with low foam, particularly in low VOC paint and coating formulations and in formulations where APEO-free surfactants are preferred," says Kendall Justiniano, Strategic Marketing Manager, DCM. "From a performance perspective, ECOSURF LF Surfactants compare favorably with our best APEO options, including TRITON CF-10 Surfactant, for pigment wetting and color acceptance."

From a process perspective, ECOSURF LF Surfactants deliver essential low foam properties, adds Justiniano. When matched with the right dispersant, they can also offer additional foam control through cloud point defoaming.

How it works
Cloud point refers to the temperature at which ethoxylate surfactants become insoluble in an aqueous solution. ECOSURF LF Surfactants are initially soluble and offer excellent wetting with low foam during pigment addition. As temperatures during pigment dispersion rise above cloud points, ECOSURF LF Surfactants become insoluble.

"In this form, ECOSURF LF Surfactants stop the creation of additional foam and even help to reduce existing foam," explains Greg Monaghan, Architectural Coatings Group Leader, DCM. "As the paint batch is finished and temperatures decrease, ECOSURF LF Surfactants return to a soluble state and contribute to other properties of the coating, such as color acceptance and freeze- thaw resistance."

Cloud points are characteristic of ethoxylated nonionic surfactants, but have not been widely used in paint formulating until now, says Monaghan. "Foam becomes more of an issue as formulators lower VOC levels," he explains. "With ECOSURF LF Surfactants, paint formulators can take advantage of a second mechanism for foam control in the pigment dispersion and we expect this will be particularly useful where paint manufacturers are pursuing low VOC products."

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