Is FAE a Good Alternative to APE?


By: Aman Arora --

30 September, 2014

Is FAE a Good Alternative to APE?

Surfactants play a key role in paints and coatings industry. As the industry is moving from solvent based to water based formulations, surfactants are used as a key additives in water based formulations. They are used as binder emulsifier and as pigment dispersant. Also, they are required to improve wetting on low energy substrates, to control foaming during application and to prevent film defects caused by surface tension gradients. Majority of the water borne paints are latex paints. The emulsifier used in latex preparation is normally a combination of nonionic and anionic surfactants. Traditionally, Alkyl Phenol Ethoxylates (APE) have been the workforce of the coating industry for years but the serious environmental concerns require the industry to move to lower-VOC and APE-free formulations. With legislation in Europe along with green movement in US, Canada and other regions that restricts the use of APE based surfactants in paints and coating formulation, developing alternatives which can efficiently replace and impart similar level of performance as APE has become increasingly urgent and much needed. For the surfactant market, the trend seems to be on continuous innovation and broadening the product category.. Future focus of coatings manufacturers should be on developing environmental friendly formulations as well as making products that support various formulations. It?s high time for the coatings manufacturers to focus on collaborating with surfactant suppliers and develop new formulations that support the lower-VOC odor while still maintaining high performance standards.


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