News & Updates

Acticarbone: High Performance, Renewable CECA Activated Carbons

J R Hess & Company, Inc. is now offering Acticarbone® activated carbons developed by CECA, a member of the Arkema global specialty chemical group. As a specialty chemical distributor and partner in product development, we are excited to introduce this line of cutting edge activated carbons to members of the New England pharmaceutical, biotechnology and life sciences sectors. Activated Carbons Made From Renewable …

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LVP-VOC Exemption: Regulatory Overview

Summary Despite increasingly strict VOC limits at the state and federal level, I&I formulators can incorporate performance based solvents and new surfactant technology to satisfy current Low Vapor Pressure (LVP-VOC) exemption criteria. The ingredients in these compunds will not count towards a product’s total VOC calculation, and may facilitate compliance with enhanced performance characteristics. This article …

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Dimethyl Esters: Elastomers and Plastics Compatibility

Elastomer and plastics compatibility is an important consideration when looking at storage and handling options for DMEs. Many dimethyl ester (DME) end-users have requested more information about elastomer and plastics compatibility. This typically concerns our Sta-Sol® solvents and how they interact with different types of containers, seals, gaskets, and other packaging or coating materials. Fortunately, …

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Creating Gels: Thickening and Rheology Modifiers

The uses for thickening agents are wide ranging. As one example, cross linked polymer based gels enables full customization for customers seeking in gel appearance (including color), flow, viscosity and suspension for medical, sporting, packaging, and cleaning applications.

Emulsifier to Remove Solvent Residue

One of the advantages of using greener solvents is that they can offer a low VOC alternative to meet company safety and compliance goals. This also means that the product will usually have a slower evaporation rate, which can result in a fine film or protective residue clinging to a substrate’s surface. While this is …

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Propylene Carbonate in Cleaning & Degreasing Applications

Propylene carbonate (PC) is a clear, organic polar solvent made from the reaction of propylene with carbon dioxide.

propylene carbonate

This post focuses on the use of PC in cleaning and degreasing formulations. However, there are several other recognized uses of this material in other applications.

For example, PC is prevalent in chemical intermediates, paints/coatings, dyes, fibers, as a reactive diluent in urethane systems, wood binder resins, safer alternative in cosmetic/personal care formulations, and as electrolyte solvents for lithium batteries (among many more).

Performance Characteristics
PC is used on its own and in a variety of end-use cleaning and degreasing formulations due to its versatility, effectiveness in reducing surface tension, and ability to improve wetting and soil removal functionality. Formulators also incorporate propylene carbonate into water rinsable solvent systems.

This offers a distinct advantage in VOC reduction projects. PC is also broadly compatible with other solvents, such as dimethyl esters, providing an effective ingredient in co-solvent formulations on a variety of soils, resins and substrates.

Hansen Solubility Parameters

  • Total                                    13.3
  • Dispersive                            9.8
  • Polar                                     8.8
  • Hydrogen Bonding              2.0

Environmental, Health & Safety

PC is commonly used in processes and formulations to minimize toxicity and volatility concerns. It is currently listed in the Solvent category on the EPA Safer Chemicals Ingredients List for use in DfE labeled products (Indicated by the Green Circle, meaning the chemical has been verified to be of low concern based on experimental and modeled data).

Due to its low vapor pressure and findings of negligible photochemical reactivity, PC is currently considered VOC exempt by the US EPA. It is also considered a non-VOC according to EU dir 1999/13/EC.

Additional positive EHS features include a high flash point (Closed cup: 275 F°), high boiling point ( >487 F° ), and low vapor pressure (0.023 mm Hg). This material is also readily biodegradable per OECD 301B.

Because of its preferable safety and regulatory profile, PC has been a very effective substitute for traditionally used but more hazardous and heavily regulated solvents, including methylene chloride, perchloroethylene, NMP, acetone, MEK, and toluene.

Example Cleaning, Stripping and Degreasing Applications:

  • Circuit board and electronic cleaners (Pure Grades)
  • Polyurethane clean up
  • Carburetor cleaners
  • Polymer/resin clean up
  • Inks and ink cleaners
  • Unsaturated polyester clean up
  • All purpose industrial and consumer clean up
  • Stereolithography parts cleaning

Formulations and Samples

As mentioned, propylene carbonate offers an excellent VOC and toxicity reduction solution for several formulations and applications. As both a supplier and formulator of this material, we offer flexible, customized solvent systems using PC as a component or stand-alone raw material.

Contact us for more information on this product or to discuss your application and request a sample.

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Case Study: NMP Replacement Solution

Summary: N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP) is a highly effective solvent for paint stripping and resin removal applications. It is also widely used as a co-solvent in industrial cleaning formulations and reaction systems. But recent regulatory scrutiny and significant safety concerns have driven NMP users towards safer alternatives. Our Sta-Sol® dimethyl ester based solvent blends and water soluble microemulsions may …

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Amphoteric Alternatives for Cocamide DEA (Updated)

Cocamide DEA is used by product formulators as a surfactant in several hard surface cleaning applications, including liquid dish detergents, all-purpose cleaners, degreasers, and manual and automatic vehicle care detergents.

(Receive a PDF version of this article and detailed product comparison sheet via email)

Stepan Company, a global supplier of surfactant technologies, produces commonly used Cocamide DEA based surfactants under the trade names NINOL® 40-CO (1:1 Cocamide DEA) and NINOL® 11-CM (Modified 2:1 Cocamide DEA, 15% added Coco Fatty Acid).

Despite its broad use and acceptance in hard surface cleaning applications, Cocamide DEA has recently come under scrutiny by the US EPA and NTP and, as of June 22, 2012, has been listed by California’s Office of Environmental Health and Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) as a known carcinogen under California’s Proposition 65.

The Proposition 65 listing poses unique challenges for formulators who either manufacture products with Cocamide DEA or otherwise offer the product for commercial sale in the State of California.

Specifically, formulators must meet all Proposition 65 warning requirements or reformulate by June 22, 2013.

Stepan has broad amphoteric product support and technical expertise in hard surface care to assist customers with product recommendations and re-formulation.

In order to provide formulators and manufacturers with performance based alternatives to Cocamide DEA, Stepan investigated a series of their specialty amphoterics to facilitate reformulation and replace Cocamide DEA in major application areas.

Based on Stepan’s studies, which reviewed performance testing along with the handling, lead-time and market price characteristics of alternative materials, we are working with customers to recommend substitutes and deliver suitable product alternatives from Stepan.

Continue reading to learn about available Cocamide DEA alternatives or receive the full PDF and detailed product comparison sheet via email by clicking here.

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Industrial Solvent Alternatives

There is a growing interest in finding alternative solvents for industrial applications. The initial interest in testing solvent replacements may be based on a variety of factors, including VOC concerns,  safety and compliance initiatives, or green marketing efforts. We have also found that a specific warning on a product safety sheet will cause companies to …

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A Quick Look at “Cloud Point”

Cloud point is an important property to consider when evaluating surfactants for your formulation. Cloud point is defined as the temperature above which a surfactant rich phase separates from an aqueous solution. This separation occurs when a nonionic surfactant, for instance, becomes insoluble due to increased heat, resulting in a cloudy or hazy dispersion in …

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Nonionic Surfactants (101 Series)

This is the second post in our Surfactant 101 series. In this post, we’ll be discussing the basics of nonionic surfactants and there use in a wide range of applications. No Electrical Charge The nonionic category of surfactants are chemical structures that contain active molecules with no electrical charge. Unlike molecules with surface properties due …

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Surfactant 101 Series

This post is the first in our Surfactant 101 series. We’ve discussed surfactants in other posts, but in this series, we’ll be focusing on surfactant basics. We’ll also be explaining the differences among the four major surfactant categories: nonionic, anionic, cationic, and amphoteric. But first . . . What is a Surfactant? Surfactant (Surface Active …

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Asphalt Cleaning & Removal

Fighting Tar & Residue with Bio-Based Solutions: Removing asphalt and tar residue from heavy duty paving equipment and haul vehicles is a challenge. Applicators must be sure to constantly clean and remove residue and deposits in order to maintain and preserve expensive equipment. For many companies, the most effective solution has been to use diesel …

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Concerns About NPEs

As we’ve highlighted in previous posts, nonlyphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) are under increasing pressure from domestic and international regulatory bodies. The regulatory emphasis stems from the negative environmental and eco-toxicity characteristics of this non-ionic surfactant. Specifically, NPEs have been found to be persistent in the aquatic environment, moderately bioaccumulative, and extremely toxic to aquatic organisms. As …

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Supplier Focus: DeFOREST Enterprises Inc.

DeFOREST Enterprises Inc. offers a diversified and comprehensive line of surfactants and specialties for a variety of end use applications. They develop a multifunctional range of products, including surfactants, hydrotopes, corrosion inhibitors, metal working lubricants, emulsifiers and gelling agents (Click here to view the full DeFOREST product catalog). DeFOREST is also a leader in developing …

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