Dynamic zeta potential analysis Episode 1: Application in textile care

Besides cleaning, advanced detergents for textile laundry shall apply a softener or a fragrance to the textile fabric. The complex formulations require a detailed understanding of the interactions of various additives among each other and with the fabric surface. The zeta potential analysis gives insight in both of these phenomena.

The combination of fragrances and fabric softeners in high-end laundry detergents has become an important requirement in textile care. Softener formulations contain cationic compounds such as a complex surfactant with a quaternary ammonium group. Fragrances are volatile by nature and need a temporary protection. Microencapsulation is a common strategy for the temporary capture and the controlled release of fragrances.

The presence of multiple components in a formulation makes it necessary to understand their behavior such as complex formation and competitive adsorption at material surfaces in more detail. The analysis of the zeta potential in liquid phase (particle suspension or emulsion) and at the solid-water interface provides valuable information to better understand such phenomena. Electrophoretic light scattering (ELS) for colloidal dispersions and the streaming potential measurement (SPM) for macroscopic solids are experimental approaches to the zeta potential.

The zeta potential represents the charge, which develops at the material surface when exposed to a liquid. The zeta potential analysis is most commonly applied to optimize formulation composition, to estimate dispersion stability or coagulation, to study polymer membranes for water treatment, metal implants in contact with a physiological buffer, or antiadhesive coatings for biomedical devices. As an extension of the standard zeta potential analysis, the kinetics of the interaction between a solute and the solid surface is monitored by the dynamic streaming potential measurement.

In this application note we employ the zeta potential analyses by ELS and SPM to investigate the addition of a softener to microencapsulated fragrances and the adsorption of these formulations on a textile fabric.

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