Help with Fish-oil based ‘Gel’

I have been working on a personal project for a little while now to create (or replicate) some of the commercial fishing scent attractants eg this . I am working off of the idea that they are based on a fish oil which will slowly disperse in the water. I have little to no real experience in the chemistry field but I am having fun experimenting and trying to learn. I understand this may not be in line with the main purpose of this site (as its not cosmetics related) but I am hoping that the chemistry experience of the folks here would be transferable to this project.

 

I have been using a base of Tuna Oil (like this) and trying to build from there. I have tried various combinations of Tuna Oil, PolaWax, Polysorbate 80 and Cetyl Stearyl Alcohol just following some cosmetic recipes online as a starting point . Most experiments produced something that was too hard and waxy, and when placed into water quickly started to emulsify and break down. So far the closest I have come to matching the look and feel of the commercial product is 91.5% Oil and 8.5% Cetyl Stearyl Alcohol, heated to combine and stirred with a spatula. Once this cooled it looked and smelled like the commercial product at room temperature, however I now have 2 issues I am trying to fix. Perhaps they are related.

 

  1. At room temperature the viscosity is good, however a small increase in temp (like a warmer day or putting the container in your pocket) decreases the viscosity back to oil. I was hoping to be able to have the viscosity more stable so it stays thicker at a wider range of temperatures.
  2. It lacks a “tackiness”. I would like to be able to make it ‘stickier’ so that it holds on better when placed on an object in water. At present it has a tendency to just slide off whatever it is placed on. I am after more of a sticky grease type consistency.

 

I also investigated using petroleum jelly @25% which seemed to help a little but again it was not stable at slightly increased temperature (liquefied immediately) and seemed to separate after a day or so. Finally, I have started reading up on the mechanisms of liquid soap making using things like oil/potassium hydroxide but I am not sure if this is a better path to follow.

 

I guess I am not even sure I am going about this in the right way. Is what I am trying to achieve possible following this path of an oil base or should i look at changing paths completely? If anybody could offer some advice on what I could try next I would be very grateful and happy to learn some more!

 

Thank you.

Comments

  • I was involved with a similar fish attracting product; and after many iterations, the brand owner's indecision, etc, after 10+ years it is still not commercial though we had something working.

    One way would be to use a base of gelatin, glycerol & water to get something that is plastic and add your tuna oil into that. Once the gekatin mass has dried to about 10% moisture, you can cut into strips and bait your hook with that. The gelatin will swell in cold water and may only last an hour or so until you need to re-bait.

    Another way, would be to melt beeswax into the oil - about 8-12% to get a viscous waxy-oily mass. There are other viscosity modifiers you could use too.




  • Thank you for the input! Sounds like the first option is more of an "artificial bait" rather than a rub-on scent but certainly an interesting concept! Would a somehow diluted version of this achieve what i am after or is this only suitable for making a "solid"?

    Interesting point about the beeswax, i do have some of that but havent tried it. Would that get me closer to a gel that is more temperature stable and a little stickier? Assuming i would also need to use a solubilizer in that to get it to disperse in water right?

    Could you point me in the direction of these other viscosity modifiers?

    Genuinely appreciate your help here!
  • Polyvinyl alcohol?
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    try gelling the oil with hydroxystearic acid; at a sufficiently high percentage (5% or more) it'll make the oil close to solid
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • Thanks to both @Belassi ; and @Bill_Toge. I will do my best to track down these ingredients and give it a go. In the mean time i may try and experiment with some BeesWax and a few other things.

  • Sorry one additional question, in order to stabilize the product viscosity at a wider variety of temperatures, would the above suggestions help with that or will it increase viscosity at room temperate and still degrade (go thinner) as the temp increases? It seems my current formula is only "stable" at room temp. Would moving to a Oil/Water solution assist with this?
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    hydroxystearic acid gels are not temperature-sensitive
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • @Bill_Toge Thanks! That certainly looks like an avenue worth pursuing. I started looking around for this and it appears to be very hard to find in Australia. It seems its also called 12-hydroxystearic? My searching turned up stearic acid which seems to be very easy to get, but looking at the makeup of it it appears marginally different. Are these 2 interchangeable by any chance?
  • stearic acid not the same as hydroxystearic (which is the 12-hydroxystearic). You could try polyhydroxystearic which is common in lipstick ( so might be more obtainable) and the SDS I read says it is not harmful for the aquatic enviroment. That is a closer substitute
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    BTW I wouldn't use an emulsifier (e.g. polysorbate 80) or your product will emulsify in water and wash off easily.
  • Thanks to everybody for their input. I have alot to test out!
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    Snowman said:
    @Bill_Toge Thanks! That certainly looks like an avenue worth pursuing. I started looking around for this and it appears to be very hard to find in Australia. It seems its also called 12-hydroxystearic? My searching turned up stearic acid which seems to be very easy to get, but looking at the makeup of it it appears marginally different. Are these 2 interchangeable by any chance?

    it's 12-hydroxystearic acid; stearic acid is completely different and doesn't have any capacity to form a gel
    also polyhydroxystearic acid is a different thing from both of these and has no capacity to form a gel either
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
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