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Polymeric surfactants

A common challenge when developing an agrochemical product is producing a formulation that is highly stable under various storage conditions, for long periods of time. Polymeric surfactants play a vital role when it comes to formulation stability. They can function as dispersants and emulsifiers, keeping particles (in either emulsions or suspensions) apart from each other preventing formulation breakdown mechanisms such as flocculation and coalescence.

Diagram showing the advances of polymeric surfactants over monomeric surfactantsIn today’s market there is an industry drive towards formulations with even higher active ingredient concentrations, inclusion of multiple active ingredients (often with different physical chemical properties) and being able to combine in complex tank mixtures, thereby compounding the stability challenge.

Polymeric surfactants offer many performance advantages over conventional monomeric surfactants and are increasingly relied on to guarantee formulation stability in these challenging conditions. Polymeric surfactants impart excellent particle stability via steric stabilisation. The repulsive barriers of the polymer chains are better able to prevent coalescence and agglomeration than monomerics. In both aqueous and non-aqueous suspensions, the multiple anchoring points of polymeric surfactants provide superior interaction between surfactant and substrate. Combined with steric stabilisation, this results in highly robust and stable formulations. Polymeric surfactants are therefore able to stabilise even high loaded suspensions and still maintain viscosity at an acceptable level.

We have a wide range of polymeric surfactant technology. Our polymeric surfactant chemistries comprise of EO/PO block copolymers, acrylic/styrene copolymers, methacrylic copolymers, poly hydroxystearate derivatives and alkyd PEG resin derivatives.

Atlox 4917 product overview sheet

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Atlox 4916 product overview sheet

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Example formulations

Formulation finder

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

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Atlox 4917™ – aqueous dispersant

Atlox 4917 is a novel, aqueous dispersant delivering robust stability in complex and problematic formulations. Designed to expand our range of aqueous dispersants building on the well-established technology of Atlox 4913 and Atlox Metasperse products.

Atlox 4917 is based on modified styrene acrylic copolymer chemistry and the polymer architecture has been designed to enhance adsorption with active ingredient surface and provide superior stabilisation mechanisms. The hydrophobic backbone of Atlox 4917 adsorbs to the surface of the active ingredient via multiple anchoring points, providing strong adsorption. The hydrophilic chains then extend into the aqueous media which contain two different functioning stabilisation groups. This provides both steric and electrostatic stabilisation.

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Atlox 4916 - emulsifier and non-aqueous dispersant

Atlox 4916 is a high molecular weight polymeric emulsifier and non-aqueous dispersant with low HLB developed to provide excellent stability when used in a variety of crop formulations. With its unique ‘star structure’, Atlox 4916 has superior anchorage at the oil/water/particle interface providing exceptional stability even in the most challenging formulation conditions.

The star consists of a sorbitol base reacted with ethylene oxide (EO). This product is then further reacted with a polymerised fatty acid resulting between 2-6 polymerised acid chains randomly distributed across the star shape. With its unique star structure, the design of this molecule was targeted at providing multiple chain anchoring points into both the aqueous and the oil phases. Atlox 4916 has superior anchorage at the oil/water/particle interface providing unmatched stability even in the most challenging formulation conditions.

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Oil dispersion (OD)

In the agrochemical industry, oil dispersion (OD) formulations are an excellent delivery system for water sensitive active ingredients such as sulfonylureas. An OD is defined as a solid active ingredient dispersed in oil.

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Suspension concentrate (SC)

In the agrochemical industry, suspension concentrate (SC) formulations have grown in popularity due to benefits such as absence of dust and ease of use. An SC is defined as an insoluble active ingredient dispersed in an aqueous medium.

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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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