Each agrochemical system requires surfactants with specific properties suited to that system.  For example an concentrated aqueous emulsion (EW) formulation requires surfactants with different properties to a surfactant for an emulsifiable concentrate (EC) formulation. The below grid explains why the different surfactant properties are required.

The properties that the grid shows are molecular weight (size), surfactant dynamics (how fast they move) and polarity (solubility). Some general rules about surfactant properties are:
  • Larger molecules are used for stability i.e. dispersants and emulsifiers. They have lower dynamics and therefore move slower to an interface.
  • Smaller molecules are used for wetting or forming spontaneous emulsions as they have higher dynamics so can move quickly to an interface.
  • Low ethoxylated surfactants are more oil soluble and high ethoxylated surfactants are more water soluble. 
Click on the grid below to find out more about each surfactant type.