Soluble silicates contribute to detergents as cleaning aids, processing aids, and corrosion inhibitors. The alkali in silicate helps to adjust pH of the formulation for best cleaning. The silica from the silicate can enhance or build surfactant performance. As well the silica acts as a corrosion inhibitor for metal surfaces and also serves to disperse soil particles to avoid redeposition on fabric surfaces. Liquid silicates can also be used to agglomerate detergent components in granule manufacture.
PQ provides silicates in various forms including sodium and potassium liquid silicates, spray-dried powder BRITESIL® hydrous polysilicates, high-alkalinity METSO® metasilicates, and sodium aluminosilicate (zeolite) VALFOR® 100. VALFOR 100 zeolite is the builder of choice for powder detergents and is an excellent water softener to enhance surfactant action. VALFOR 100 removes hard-water calcium via ion-exchange to soften water during the cleaning process. VALFOR can also serve as an anti-cake in powder detergent formulas and as well, exhibits high liquid carrying capacity to carry other ingredients (surfactants, fragrances, etc.) into the formula.
Recently, the EPA has introduced pH 11.5 as the corrosive limit for consumer cleaning/detergent formulations under its Design for the Environment (DfE) program. BRITESIL formulations easily meet these strict pH requirements.
Magnesium sulfate can be used to enhance performance and aesthetics of detergents and bar soaps. In detergents magnesium sulfate can be used to lower the critical micelle concentration (cmc) of a surfactant allowing it to be more efficient. In liquid detergents it can be used as a viscosity builder giving the product a richer appearance. In bar soaps magnesium sulfate can be used to reduce shrinking and cracking and also to minimize soap-dish melt down.