Surfactants are a vital component of many cellular polyurethane formulations. They control bubble formation and opening, keep mixtures of ingredients together, and speed up reactions. Simon Robinson looks at the trends affecting this class of additives.
There are many players in the surfactants business, but UTECH-polyurethane.com/ Urethanes Technology International was fortunate to be able to talk to three of the larger players: Dow Chemical, which recently took full ownership of Dow Corning; Evonik, which recently completed the purchase of Air Products’ catalyst business; and Momentive.
In foaming formulations, it appears there is a delicate balancing act between surfactant and catalyst. This is why both Dow and Evonik feel that recent business restructurings have given them expertise they previously lacked.
Dow Chemical took full ownership of Dow Corning, formerly a 50:50 joint venture with Corning, in 2016. The Dow Corning business now operates within Dow as its Performance Silicones business.
Integrate where you can
“This combination of silicones and polyurethanes is very exciting for us,” said Richard James, global segment leader for polyurethane additives at Dow Performance Silicones. “It brings together Dow Corning and Dow Chemical, which is very strong in the polyether and organic side of the molecule. In the surfactants sphere, we are the most back-integrated provider globally, second to none.