Ethoxylation is a chemical process used in industry to create surfactants, which are compounds that reduce the surface tension of liquids. The process of ethoxylation involves adding ethylene oxide to an alcohol, phenol or amine to produce products. Many products produced by ethoxylation have commercial applications, and some are used in biochemistry and medicine. While most surfactants can be widely used, others are hazardous to humans and the environment, and in some countries their use is restricted.

Nonionic surfactants include Alcohol Ethoxylates, Alkylphenol Ethoxylates, Fatty Amine Ethoxylates, Poly Ethylene Glycols, Caster Oil Ethoxylates, Fatty Acid Ethoxylates, Sorbitan Ethoxylates, Amide Ethoxylates, Glyceride Ethoxylates and etc. Another commercially significant nonionic surfactants are the alkyl glycosides in which the hydrophilic groups are sugars (polysaccharides).

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    Lauryl Alcohol Ethoxylate

    Lauryl alcohol ethoxylates are nonionic surfactants obtained by adding ethylene oxide (EO) to linear fatty alcohol having alkyl carbon atoms ranging between 12 and 14. Lauryl alcohol ethoxylates vary in physical appearance, from clear or slightly hazy, colorless liquids to white solids, depending upon the level of ethoxylation. > more


    Nonyl Phenol Ethoxylate

    Nonylphenol ethoxylates are manufactured by reacting NP with ethylene oxide (EO) under basic conditions. The degree of ethoxylation depends on the molar ratio of NP to EO. NPEs are hydrophilic ("water-attracting") at one end of the molecule and hydrophobic ("water-avoiding") at the opposite end.  > more


    Tallow Aamine Ethoxylate

    Tallow amines have been reacted with various amounts of ethylene oxide to modify emulsification, surface tension, solubility, and cationic strength properties of the base amines. > more


    Poly Ethylene Glycol

    Poly ethylene glycols (PEGs) are family of water-soluble linear polymers formed by the additional reaction of ethylene oxide (EO) with mono ethylene glycol or diethylene glycol, with the general formula H(OCH2CH2)nOH. They are the most commercially important type of polyether. > more


    Oleic Acid Ethoxylate

    Oleic acid ethoxylates are nonionic surfactants which are such as all kinds of other nonionic surfactants mixtures varying in the number of repeating ethoxy groups. > more


    Coconut fatty Acid Ethoxylate

    Coconut fatty acid ethoxylates are nonionic surfactants which are such as all kinds of other nonionic surfactants mixtures varying in the number of repeating ethoxy groups. The digit which is appeared after the name of CAE shows the average number of ethylene oxide units.   > more

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    Castor Oil Ethoxylate

    Castor oil ethoxylates (also known as: COEn) are ethylene oxide condensates of castor oil. The number of moles of ethylene oxide can vary. > more

Compounds that are commonly ethoxylated include nonylphenol, amines, fatty acids and fatty alcohols. A catalyst must usually be added along with ethylene oxide to help speed the ethoxylation reaction. In industrial plants, ethoxylation may involve a pre-treatment step where water is removed to prevent the formation of extraneous compounds and a post-treatment step where the catalyst is neutralized and removed. The various steps of the reaction may take place in different vessels, or in one large reactor. The design of the reaction depends on efficiency. Industrial chemists often directly monitor the ethoxylation process and make modifications to increase productivity. The products of ethoxylation are known as ethoxylated materials, or surfactants. These are organic compounds that contain both hydrophilic (water-attractant) and hydrophobic (water-repellent) groups. Surfactants change the surface properties of liquids because their structure causes them to migrate to the liquid’s boundary interface. For example, in water, surfactants will migrate to the air-water boundary, but in an oil-water mixture, surfactants will migrate to the oil-water boundary. The term surfactant is a shortened version of the term surface active agent, reflecting this behavior. Surfactants can be found in detergents, shampoos, paints, inks, pesticides, and numerous other commercial products. They are typically used as emulsifiers, causing otherwise unmixable liquids to mix, or as foaming agents and cleaners. Some surfactants have biochemical applications and are used to extract proteins from cells or make proteins soluble in solution. A specific type of ethoxylation, known as PEGylation, is used in medicine to promote drug delivery in the body. In PEGylation, chains of polyethylene glycol are attached to a therapeutic protein or drug. This prevents the body’s immune system from recognizing and attacking the drug or protein, and also allows normally insoluble drugs to become soluble in water. Some ethoxylated materials can be hazardous and are currently regulated by some government agencies. Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), which are used in pesticides, industrial detergents, and some household cleaning products, can reach groundwater and soil via the sewer system. NPEs have toxic effects on aquatic life, and additionally cause reproductive problems in animals. Concern about the possibility that NPEs may migrate through agricultural land into human food has led to their use being limited in several countries.