Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Is it normal for alcohol ethoxylates to gel and swell when a little water is added?

  • Is it normal for alcohol ethoxylates to gel and swell when a little water is added?

    Posted by Gunther on July 23, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    Lauryl alcohol ethoxylate 9 or 10 moles EO is a medium viscosity, white paste at room temperature
    but when some water is added, just some as to dilute it 1:1 or 1:2, it becomes a clear, swollen thick gel that clumps together.
    Is that normal?

    If further diluted, it becomes a milky white, water-thin solution
    becoming colorless if further diluted (as expected).

    Can you take advantage of it, and make concentrated HI&I cleaning gels with it?
    Thanks guys.

    ozgirl replied 4 years, 11 months ago 3 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • DAS

    Member
    July 23, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    Yes, that’s normal. Hot water or a more hydrophilic co-surfactant will do the trick. 

    And no, it won’t remain a gel since its not a gel, just the material clumping due to its partial affinity with water.

  • ozgirl

    Member
    July 24, 2019 at 10:57 pm
    Yes this is normal behaviour.
    Have a look at the table on page 6 of this document (http://www.timing-ouhan.com/images/lutensolxl.pdf) to see how different amounts of water change the viscosity of some BASF ethoxylated surfactants.

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