Volume 8, Number 2, Mars-Avril 2001
|Page(s)||134 - 135|
|Published online||15 March 2001|
Onidol, 12, avenue George-V, 75008
Les tensioactifs sont des produits aux applications si multiples que chacun les met en oeuvre au quotidien. De la salle de bain à la cuisine en passant par la buanderie, ils entrent dans les gels douche, shampooings, savons, cosmétiques, liquides vaisselle, produits ménagers divers, lessives et adoucissants textiles.
There are so many applications for surfactants that anybody handles them in the daily life: in the bathroom, the kitchen, the laundry, etc. They enter foam bath and shower gels, shampoos, soaps, cosmetics, washing-up liquids, detergents, fabric softeners, etc. As for industry, surfactants display a wealth of usages: industrial detergents, that cover many areas such as the cleaning of facilities, machines, vehicles, even the degreasing of fabrics. One can find them in almost all existing formulations, paints, asphalts, lubricants, liquid explosives, flotation agents, etc. In 2000, 11 million metric tons of surfactants were sold in the world. Europe and North America totalling 3 million metric tons each. Their main outlet are the household detergents (60% in Europe, 50% in North America). Personal care and technical applications represent respectively about 10% and 30% in both continents. For detergents, soaps have been displaced by synthetic or hemisynthetic molecules in developed countries. The movement started in the early years of the 20th century. The raw materials originate in oil chemistry (benzene, ethylene, propylene) for the former, in tropical vegetable oils, coprah, palmiste, after fractionating (to obtain the lauric/myristic cut) for the later. Some animal fats enter, in a less extend, in cationics (softeners, technical applications). The lauric/myristic cut is largely operated thanks to technical (foaming power, Kraft point) and price benefits. Vegetable oils of European origin (C 18 fatty chains) have shown their ability to enter household detergents in the past. The only component of Castile soap were olive oil and caustic soda. By the way, rapeseed and linseed soaps are effective too. If at first sight C 18 chains are not the best suited chains for modern detergents, the possibility to improve them is admitted by the main surfactant producers, simply by modifying the polar moiety of the surfactant, the hydrophilic part. For instance and as a general rule, one unit of ethylene oxide is enough to decrease the Kraft point by 10°C. Therefore, rapeseed and sunflower oils could enter surfactants manufacturing as raw materials. And that is the aim of this special issue to focus on the most promising opportunities
© John Libbey Eurotext 2001
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