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Textile Industry

Textile Industry

The Surfactant compounds that reduce the interfacial surface tension between two liquids or between a liquid and a solid in textile material are called textile surfactants. Textile surfactants play an important role in textile industry, and they are widely used as antistatic, untangling and softening agents in different processes of textile manufacturing such as scouring, lubrication, dyeing and finishing.

In terms of fashion and high-class interiors, the demands for textiles has increased, as a result of which there is strong demand for textile surfactants in the industry.

Roles of Textile Surfactants

Textile processing is a leading consumer of surfactants, which are used for different purposes depending on the type. According to the roles they played in textile process, surfactants can be divided into these types:

Detergents

Detergents

Wetting Agents

Wetting Agents

Emulsifying Agents

Emulsifying Agents

Leveling Agents

Leveling Agents

Antistatic Agent

Antistatic Agent

Detergents

Surfactants can be widely used as detergents in textile wet processing industry for the uses of scouring, removing sizing materials and oil from fabrics, as well as soaping of all fabrics. A satisfactory detergent must possess the following properties: i) good wetting characteristics, ii) ability to remove or to help remove dirt into the bulk of the liquid, iii) ability to solubilize or to disperse removed dirt and to prevent it from being re-deposited on to the cleaned surface[1].

Wetting Agents

Textile fibers are hydrophobic and do not absorb water in their unprocessed form. Surfactants can act as wetting agents to help water or chemical penetrate the fiber surface and thus help in wet processing by reducing its surface tension. Non-ionic surfactants and anionic surfactants are more common in textile wetting agents than cationic surfactants, as cationic surfactants are very easy to be adsorbed on the fiber surface which prevents the further wetting.

Emulsifying Agents

Most of textile auxiliaries used are in the form of emulsions. To prepare emulsions emulsifiers are required. Surfactants can act as emulsifying agents to reduce the surface tension between polar and nonpolar phases by penetrating into the interface between the oil and the water phase. Textile emulsifying agents should possess the following properties: i) be adsorbed quickly around the dispersed drops as nonadherent film which will prevent coalescence, ii) impart to the droplets an adequate electric potential so that mutual repulsion occurs, iii) be stable and non-toxic, iv) be compatible with other ingredients.

Leveling Agents

Leveling agents tend to slow down the dye uptake of the fibers helping to produce more uniform color in the textile fiber. Most levelling agents are water-soluble surfactants. Based on their effects on the diffusion and aggregation of dyes, they can be divided into two common types: the fiber-philia leveling agents, and the dye-philia leveling agents. Conventional leveling agents include acrylic copolymers, silicones and fluorocarbon surfactants.

Antistatic Agent

Textile industry is one of the biggest markets for antistatic agents. Antistatic agents can be ionic or non-ionic surfactants. Ionic antistatic agents include cationic compounds, such as quaternary ammonium, phosphonium, or sulfonium salts, and anionic compounds, usually sodium salts of sulfonates, phosphates, and carboxylic acids. Non-ionic antistatic agents include esters, such as glycerol esters of fatty acids, and ethoxylated tertiary amines.

Common Surfactants for Textile Industry

There are many types of surfactants used in textile industry, and the most commonly used surfactants are as followings:

  • Fatty Amines Ethoxylate - They are important in the textile industry, as they act as fiber lubricants and also as dying agents.
  • Ethoxylates – These types of surfactants can be used for scouring, lubricating, finishing and dying of the fabrics.
  • Fatty Alcohol Ethoxylate - The major function of fatty alcohol ethoxylates is emulsification. They are also used in dye leveling and as wetting agents in textile industry.
  • Fatty Acid Ethoxylate - They can be used as emulsifiers, water softeners, wetting agents and spin dying agents.

Alfa Chemistry is a professional supplier of textile surfactants. For high quality surfactants, professional technical service, use suggestion and latest industry news, please feel free to contact us.

Reference

  1. Anik Yusuf. Detergency of Soap: Potential Uses of Detergent in Textile Wet Processing.

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