Functional formulation for complex raw material – Part 2


*Corresponding author
1. Nascent Technologies Corporation, Lawrenceville Ga, USA
2. Act Solutions Corporation


This article, the second of two, will explore polysorbates as an example of a complex composition that we commonly use in formulation (1). The complexity comes from the fact that the composition is made from a mixture of compounds in the raw materials and a mixture of products made in each of the several steps in reaction, which turn determines functionality in formulation. The three steps are dehydration, esterification and ethoxylation, and the conditions under which they are performed determine the composition and functionality of the final product.   In looking for a second supplier, merely meeting specifications, even detailed ones, will not guarantee formulation success.

As we looked at the complications in evaluating a replacement for the incumbent polysorbate in the first part article, we began to investigate formulations that could be setup that are both simple and demanding; simple in the number of ingredients and process to make the formulation, yet demanding in that the formulation would pick up functional differences in raw materials.


Complex compositions are a class on polymers that have many species that have no one component in the mixture having more that 15% of any one compound. These compositions generally have more than one reactive group on the molecule, are composed of a mixture of reactants and are generally alkoxylated. These compositions work in formulations because they are complex mixtures and are very difficult to duplicate.



There are many tests that can be developed for a raw material that would test the ability of a new raw material to be substituted into a formulation. Some tests are rather trivial to functionality, others are so important that we refer to them as salient properties (2).  By salient we mean  these tests are critical to performance making them the leading tests. We are continuing our series of looking at a critical and complex raw material polysorbate 80.



Polysorbate 80 is one of a class of materials that ca ...