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Coatings Additives

Although used in very small quantities, additives can have a huge impact on coating and ink performance and application properties. Used in the right order, at the right time, and at the right levels, additives can help improve the appearance and durability of a coating, the flow of paints and inks, the efficiency of the manufacturing process, and even the sustainability of formulations.

With our experience as a leading manufacturer of additives for the paint, coating, and ink industries and our focus on innovation, Ethox develops products that give coating and ink formulators the edge they need to design high performing low-VOC coatings that have great appearance and are easy to use.

Formulators can optimize paint processing, appearance, application, and stability through the use of our broad portfolio of E-Sperse® additive technologies. The common thread is that E-Sperse® products allow you to build low VOC, high-performing waterborne coatings with non-APE surfactants.

Continuing the dispersion theme, we are expanding the E-Sperse® product line into dispersants and lubricants for use in solvent-based or UV coatings. Our expertise in surface modification allows us to design and build products to provide compatibility between pigments and solvent systems similar to waterborne systems. If one of our current products is not quite the right fit for your application, we are willing to modify it to work optimally in your system. Ethox prides itself on being nimble and willing to develop a new surfactant product for a single customer. Let us develop something new just for you!

Pigment Dispersants

Aqueous and Non-Aqueous – E-Sperse® pigment dispersants provide low usage rates, improved color strength, and improved rheological properties.

E-Sperse® dispersants may be utilized alone or with polymeric dispersants to lower viscosity and improve the stability of the pigment dispersion, thus allowing higher solid levels. Several E-Sperse® dispersants improve freeze-thaw stability in alkyd and epoxy paints.

Pigment dispersions produced from E-Sperse® dispersants offer great compatibility with styrene acrylic and acrylic latexes, short-, medium-, and long oil alkyds, and epoxies. When using E-Sperse® surfactants in the same system to disperse pigments as well as to emulsify or disperse latexes, a lower total surfactant load may be realized.

Utilization Rate
E-Sperse® surfactants are utilized at a rate of up to three percent in polymeric dispersant-stabilized pigment concentrates as found in the ink industry, and up to ten percent on the weight of the pigment in non-polymeric dispersions. Usage may vary depending on the quality of the pigment, particle size, and equipment used. For recommendations and recipes, please see the pigment chart.

E-Sperse® RS-series products also function as pigment dispersants in either aqueous or the ink industry’s solution acrylic systems. E-Sperse® RS-1616 reduces viscosity in pigmented solution acrylic systems as much as 30%. Formulas can be provided upon request.

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Pigment dispersants for improving color development in waterborne acrylic and styrene/ acrylic paints

Reactive Surfactants for Latex

Surfactants have several critical functions in the latex polymerization process. However, once the polymerization is complete and the latex is applied to a substrate in a coating formulation, the surfactant is no longer necessary and is usually undesirable because it can cause defects, increase moisture sensitivity, and reduce adhesion to the substrate. Reactive surfactants can deliver the necessary latex monomer stabilization and polymerize into the latex particle to provide the benefits of surfactant usage without the negative effects.

The E-Sperse® RS-series are APE-free, low foaming surfactants which contain a radical-reactive functional group to copolymerize into latexes during synthesis or cure into alkyd coatings. Surfactants that are reacted into the system produce high performing, very water-resistant coatings.

E-Sperse® RS-series reactive surfactants impart freeze/stability to latexes prepared with them. Using them can reduce or eliminate the cost of using a separate freeze/thaw additive.

When using E-Sperse® RS-1684 to make a latex, the latex particles readily adhere to alumina-containing TiO2 pigment particles to form a composite particle. These composite particles show greater hiding power (opacity) in a formulated paint than the same TiO2 slurry in non-composite form. See US patent application US20140329935 for more information.

These reactive surfactant products are covered by a number of US and foreign patents including US 9051341 and US 10,934,393.

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Comparison of difunctional polymerizable surfactant with non-reactive and competitive commercial products in latexes for metal protection applications

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New Chemistry for Reactive Emulsifiers

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New Reactive Surfactants for Emulsion Polymerization

Reactive Surfactants for Alkyds

A major goal of all formulators of waterborne coatings is to reduce the loading of surfactant in the formulation since the surfactant can impair the physical properties of the final coating. The formulator looks for the most efficient surfactant for the application or tests combinations of surfactants to increase efficacy of the surfactant package and thus reduce surfactant loading.

Ethox Chemicals’ E-Sperse® RX series products for alkyd emulsions are new products made with novel technology optimized for manufacturing alkyd dispersions. All of the Ethox E-Sperse® RX series surfactants have multiple double bonds that allow them to cure into the alkyd when it dries. Thus many of the negatives of free surfactant in the coating are eliminated. The RX products provide freeze/thaw protection to the waterborne formulation. The RX series products also contain aromatic groups in their hydrophobes and so have excellent compatibility with aromatic-based alkyds.

Ethox has developed technology for making alkyd emulsions with the RX-series by an inversion method that does not require high shear mixing. The surfactant is added to the molten alkyd or alkyd solution, warmed, and then water is slowly added. The mixture will invert from a water-in-oil dispersion into an oil-in-water dispersion with a small particle size and tight distribution. Thus high shear mixing may be avoided saving manufacturing cost.

These products are covered by a number of US and foreign patents including US 9,255,206 and US 10,787,580.

Product Name Chemical Description View
E-Sperse RX-201 View
E-Sperse RX-202 Styrenated phenol based, Sulfate, Reactive Group?, Anionic View
E-Sperse RX-203 View

Specialty Additives

Ethox Chemicals’ specialty additives help you get more performance and manufacturing efficiency out of your formulation. We have solutions for both waterborne and solvent systems that enhance the stability of paints. Our technology addresses performance needs through our freeze thaw additives, wetting agents, defoamers, and other performance enhancing additives.
Product Name Chemical Description View
E-Sperse RS-1616 View
E-Sperse® FT 600 Specialty and Miscellaneous Surfactants, Nonionic View
ETHOX 1437 Ethoxylated propoxylated alcohols, Specialty and Miscellaneous Surfactants, Nonionic View
ETHOX 1449 Ethoxylated propoxylated alcohols, Specialty and Miscellaneous Surfactants, Nonionic View
ETHOX 2191 Ethoxylated propoxylated alcohols, Specialty and Miscellaneous Surfactants, Nonionic View
ETHOX 2400 Ethoxylated propoxylated alcohols, Specialty and Miscellaneous Surfactants, Nonionic View
ETHOX 2407 Ethoxylated propoxylated alcohols, Specialty and Miscellaneous Surfactants, Nonionic View
ETHOX 31-R-1 EO/PO block copolymer, Nonionic View
ETHOX 3237 Ethoxylated propoxylated alcohols, Specialty and Miscellaneous Surfactants, Nonionic View
ETHOX 3501 Ethoxylated propoxylated alcohols, Specialty and Miscellaneous Surfactants, Bio-based, Nonionic View

UV Cured Coatings

Product Name Chemical Description View
SynerPI®️ View

Latex Surfactants

Surfactants have several critical functions in the latex polymerization process. They stabilize the latex monomer droplets during polymerization and help set the particle size. Anionic surfactants provide charge stabilization and nonionics provide steric stabilization to the latex particles to prevent agglomeration and maintain the desired particle size.

Ethox has several patented latex surfactants, both reactive and non-reactive. All are APE-free and low foaming. When Ethox E-Sperse® latex surfactants are used, latexes with small average particle and narrow particle size distributions are obtained. The latexes also have low coagulum levels and exhibit excellent mechanical and chemical stability.

The E-Sperse non-reactive latex surfactants include the anionics E-Sperse® 100 and E-Sperse® 704 and the nonionics E-Sperse® 700 and E-Sperse® 703. These products are covered by a number of US and foreign patents including US 8,067,513 and US 9,023,943.

Epoxy Emulsifiers

Epoxy coatings are formed by the reaction of an epoxy-functional polymer with a polyamine hardener to form a crosslinked system that is very resistant to weathering and chemical exposures. Traditionally, since epoxies are generally viscous hydrophobic polymers, they were diluted with an organic solvent such as benzyl alcohol to thin them and to give them compatibility with the polyamine hardener. However, benzyl alcohol and other organic solvents are VOCs. Using water instead of solvents eliminates or reduces VOCs, but introduces other concerns. The epoxy group is water-reactive and so must be protected from water exposure.

Waterborne two component epoxy/amine formulations can be an attractive alternative to solvent-based systems despite their higher cost and – in some respects – slightly reduced performance. Whereas the main driving force pushing waterborne systems comes from environmental, safety and health considerations, there are also applications where the performance of aqueous epoxy systems is not only adequate, but can be even superior to conventional systems, e.g., adhesion to wet concrete. The most important applications for water-based epoxy systems today are coatings on concrete, primers for metal, and epoxy cement concrete (ECC).

One of the problems with low-VOC waterborne epoxy and hardener dispersions is that the freeze/thaw stability of these dispersions is often poor since common anti-freeze solvents are VOCs. E-Sperse® 704 (anionic) and 703 (nonionic) impart good freeze/thaw stability to epoxy dispersions. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, the stability and pot life of the dispersions are improved, often with improved cure times. Gloss and water resistance of the cured coatings are good. Formulations with good combinations of pot life, cure time, and freeze/thaw stability may readily be obtained with combinations of these two surfactants.

These products are covered by a number of US and foreign patents including US 10,011,703.

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Waterborne epoxy coating systems with freeze/ thaw stability and improved properties

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Improved epoxy dispersions

Epoxy Additives

Additives are used in epoxy formulations
Lower VOC and other regulations reduce performance in epoxy coatings

  • Viscosity –higher
  • Pot life -shorter
  • Cure time -longer
  • Flexibility -worse
  • Impact
  • Adhesion
  • Water based epoxy coatings –need improvements
  • Reduction or elimination of heavy metals (Zinc)
Performance data

  • Pot life/cure time
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Impact
  • Mandrel bend
  • Adhesion
  • Gloss
E-Sperse® epoxy additives greatly increase the stability of waterborne epoxy resin emulsions due to the similarity of the surfactant hydrophobe and the epoxy chemical structure which provides stable anchoring of the surfactant to the dispersed epoxy micelle surface. The particle stability is similar to systems utilizing a reactive surfactant, but when drawn down into a coating, the E-Sperse® surfactant will dissolve into the bulk of the curing resin. The risk of surfactant-rich domains forming in the coating is minimized, thus improving water resistance.

E-Sperse® epoxy additives provide long pot life and short cure times to waterborne epoxy emulsions. E-Sperse® surfactants are also miscible in the epoxy resin and act as compatibilizers between hardeners and epoxy resins.

These products are covered by a number of US and foreign patents including US 9371435.


These products are covered by a number of US and foreign patents including US
F/T resistance

Ink Additives

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