The Syensqo company, comprising the solutions, activities and markets represented in the article below, was spun off from Solvay group in December 2023.
Solvay’s sustainable and safer polymers for home care
Bio-based, biocide-free: Solvay researchers have been busy coming up with new generations of polymers that enable ever safer and more environmentally friendly surface cleaning products.
Solvay’s Mirapol® Surf family of polymers for homecare applications first started being developed in the early 2000s. Manufacturers use them in their formulations for detergents of all sorts, from surface cleaners to dishwasher products, as they enable to create better affinity between water and the surfaces being cleaned. “This is called hydrophilization,” explains David Grandeau, Home and Oral Care Business Development Manager at Solvay’s Novecare business unit. “The polymers are a performance enhancement active that gets absorbed on the surfaces, leading the water to form a homogenous film on them.
This phenomenon of “water sheeting” makes the surface – whether it’s glass, ceramic, metal or plastic – shinier and less adhesive for oily substances, while their affinity with water is higher. Greasy substances adhere less (no more “greasy plastic” feel on a freshly washed container), surfaces dry faster (no more water droplets on glasses when they come out of the dishwasher) and also stay clean longer. This enables manufacturers to make claims on their cleaning products such as “cleans without scrubbing”, “eliminates limescale” or “longer protection against water and dirt”…
In homecare, no one spoke of bio-based ingredients only a few years ago, but today our customers are requesting natural solutions, so we have a real advantage.
New polymers for new demands
For these reasons, the Mirapol® family is appreciated by homecare product manufacturers. Recently, Solvay has developed new grades of this line of polymers to meet evolving customer demands in terms of non-toxicity and sustainability: Mirapol® Surf S 900 and Mirapol® Surf N HSC, which are to be presented by Novecare teams at SEPAWA 2019, Europe’s largest congress for the detergents, cosmetics and fragrance industries.
Mirapol® Surf S 900 is biocide-free; in other words, it doesn’t require the addition of any preservatives because the polymer molecule is resistant enough to do without these often controversial chemicals. Thanks to this, products formulated with it are safer and compliant with ecolabel requirements. “This is an innovation developed in 2018, a grade that’s particularly well suited for acid products such as bathroom detergents,” says David. “And as it’s more resistant, it stays on surfaces longer, creating what we call ‘continuous cleaning’ of hard surfaces such as ceramic, glass and metal.”
As for Mirapol® Surf N HSC, it’s naturally-based, i.e. derived from vegetable sources, while delivering the same performance as synthetic polymers. “In homecare, no one spoke of bio-based ingredients only a few years ago, but today our customers are requesting natural solutions, so we have a real advantage here,” continues David. “Also, this is a 100% active ingredient, so very low dosages are required in formulations.” Mirapol® Surf N HSC is specifically designed for “modern surfaces”, which include everything from plastic countertops and containers to classroom whiteboards, etc.
With one polymer well suited for hard surfaces and the other for softer ones, the teams at Solvay are recommending manufacturers to combine both, as they are perfectly compatible, in order to formulate safer and more sustainable cleaning products for all types of surfaces!