How Can You Make Surfactants?




Surfactants are produced at an industrial scale across the globe mostly by multinational corporations. The starting point for production may be natural or synthetic material, also known as feedstock.

Synthetic feedstocks

PetrochemicalSynthetic or petrochemical feedstocks are produced by oil, gas and chemical processing. Synthetic alcohols are further processed (ethoxylation or sulphation is also included) to create a variety of surfactant molecules.

Because of their synthetic make-up the molecular structure can be controlled during production to provide precisely-defined physical and performance properties. They are also chemically flexible, making them acceptable with a range of other chemicals and substances.

This means they can mix with various ingredients, such as other surfactants to create a finished formulation with properties tailored to specific application needs.

Renewable feedstocks

Natural, also referred to as bio-based (or oleo), nonionic surfactant suppliers, are made up of the oils of coconut and palm kernels. These feedstocks are renewable, coming from large tropical plantations that typically provide the same amount of yield for more than 25 years prior to replanting.

In order to make an alcoholic fatty, plant oils are chemically treated (including esterification and hydrogenation). Although their origins could be quite different however, these alcohols have a lot in common to their synthetic counterparts and therefore undergo similar chemical processing to make the final IRO Surfactant.

While natural feedstocks can be considered more sustainable, there are additional aspects to be taken into consideration when evaluating sustainability as well as the whole surfactant life-cycle.




Compatibility with manufacturing

The biggest technical difference between feedstock types is that synthetic feedstocks have greater molecular functionality (called branching) which allows for greater formulation flexibility and enhanced performance in highly demanding applications requiring surfactants.

From an nonionic surfactant suppliers viewpoint from a nonionic surfactant suppliers perspective, however, both kinds of feedstocks aren't necessarily exclusive, and producers are being able to utilize both whether in combination or separately in accordance with economics, availability, market demand and the performance requirements. As a result, surfactants containing at least one ingredient derived from renewable natural raw materials have a 50 percent of the total surfactant market in Europe.

Whatever the source of the feedstock, the majority production of surfactants takes place in large industrial facilities under strict control.

Surfactants in the end are delivered to formulators and converters in many downstream industries, one of the biggest being detergent producers (also known as'soapers') where they transform into final products for industrial and consumer clients. Surfactant chemistry is one of the most researched and researched areas. This allows safe and responsible manufacturing and usage of many different types of surfactants. Each type is unique in its performance and can be used in many different applications. A lot of these products can be a wonderful supplement to our lives.