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Microemulsion (ME)

MEs are water based formulations with a very small emulsified droplet size; this makes the formulation transparent.

They are thermodynamically stable over a wide temperature range due to this very fine droplet size, usually between 0.01 and 0.05 μm. Therefore in contrast to other emulsion systems, where the oil droplets can slowly coalesce causing phase separation, in ME formulations this does not occur.

ME formulation diagram

Benefits
  • Thermodynamically stable therefore have increased shelf life
  • Low solvent level
  • Easy to transport and store
  • High flash point and safe handling
  • Improved bioefficacy due to the solubilisation of the active ingredient in the micro droplets
  • Low viscosity; so easier to handle

Limitations
  • Low active ingredient content
  • Require high surfactant level to form

The Formulator's Toolbox (Full Version)

The Formulator's Toolbox
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Recommended products for ME

Anionic surfactants are required in an ME formulation to form a spontaneous emulsion. Due to the overall charge on an anionic emulsifier it provides additional electrostatic stabilisation.

Atlox Metasperse™ 500L

Atlox Metasperse™ 500L

A modified styrene acrylic polymeric aqueous dispersant in liquid form which exhibits excellent hard water tolerance.

Tractor spraying in field

Zephrym™ 3300B

Anionic surfactant for EC and ME formulations

Example formulations

Formulation finder

Browse our formulation finder to view a range of fully developed formulations for inspiration and guidance.

Scientist testing a crop protection formulation

The Formulator's Toolbox

We have designed The Formulator’s Toolbox to give formulation scientists an introduction to each of these formulation types.

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Experimental design tool

This tool enables you to methodically calculate surfactant ratios meaning unnecessary experiments are kept to a minimum.

Check out our resource library to understand more about formulating ME.