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The surfactant market continues to undergo major changes and the NEODOL product range has been and will be adapted to serve changing needs. More than one NEODOL product is frequently suggested for a given end-use. In the final analysis, the customer will be required to choose the best product for a particular application. For many similar formulations, one customer may select one NEODOL product while another customer will select a different one.

By adjusting the ratio of the NEODOL surfactants, and sometimes by combining with other surfactant types, formulations can be optimised for such features as detergency, foam profile, builder type, enzyme stability, cold water performance and product multi-functionality.

Laundry products

Laundry detergency is the capability of a surfactant system to remove soils and stains from fabrics. Three types of products derived from NEODOL alcohols and ethoxylates play major roles in laundry detergency processes: alcohol sulphates, alcohol ethoxy sulphates and ethoxylates. In this regard, Shell chemicals companies respond to customers' needs by offering NEODOL alcohols and ethoxylates for sulphation and ethoxylates for direct formulation into finished detergents.

A NEODOL product may be chosen for a particular formulation for a variety of reasons: superior detergency for particular soils, compatibility or synergism with other surfactants or enzymes, cost/performance, and satisfactory supply position. Biodegradability characteristics must be satisfactory, and the surfactant must perform well with a particular builder or, in some cases, no builder at all. Many other selection criteria are also involved.

Light Duty Liquid Detergents (LDLs)

Most consumers judge the effectiveness of LDL detergents by dishwashing foam stability. Therefore, this performance criterion is quantitatively measured when judging the effectiveness of a particular LDL. Product appeal is also governed by other physical characteristics such as viscosity, low temperature stability, grease cutting ability, odour, appearance and skin mildness.

While Shell chemicals companies do not supply NEODOL-based ethoxysulphates, they do supply a variety of sulphation-grade ethoxylates for sulphation, i.e. NEODOL 23-2, NEODOL 25-3. In addition, mid-mole ethoxylates such as NEODOL 23-6.5 may be sulphated for use in liquid detergents. Outstanding dishwashing foam performance can be obtained with liquids based on ethoxysulphates derived from NEODOL ethoxylates in combination with other ingredients such as alkyl benzene sulphonate, alpha olefin sulphonate and fatty acid diethanol amide. NEODOL alcohol ethoxylates offer the advantage of good grease-cutting performance and suitable skin mildness.

Hard Surface Cleaners

NEODOL ethoxylates and ethoxysulphates are widely used to formulate hard surface cleaners such as pine oil cleaners, all-purpose cleaners, bathroom cleaners, floor and wall cleaners, and all-purpose spray cleaners.

The NEODOL 91, 1 and 23 series of ethoxylates are excellent candidates for hard surface cleaning applications. NEODOL 91 ethoxylates are often the most suitable for starting formulations. NEODOL 1 series ethoxylates offer excellent rinsing properties. In some cases, the NEODOL 23 and 25 ethoxylates are also suitable. An alcohol ethoxysulphate, such as one based on NEODOL 25-3, is often an appropriate choice where a higher foaming anionic surfactant is required. NEODOL 1, 91 and 23 alcohols can be ethoxylated to suit formulation needs.

Lubricating Oil Additives

NEODOL alcohols are suitable for the manufacture of a number of commonly used additives in lubricating oils. They are used as a raw material for viscosity index improvers and as pour point depressants by major producers of additives in both Europe and the United States.