DOW’s TergitolTM and TritonTM surfactants are used to increase the wetting and cleaning properties of household cleaners. TergitolTM and TritonTM surtactants work to enhance institutional and industrial cleaning product formulations, and formulators of coatings, paints, inks for pigment wetting, film leveling, and stabilization of dye and pigment. Surfactants can give desired storage stability and mechanical properties to emulsion polymerization systems like vinyl, acrylic, styrene-butadiene, and other copolymer latex resin systems. They are commonly used in agricultural formulations, paper manufacturing, oilfield operations, and textile processing.

What Is a Tergitol Surfactant and What Is It Used For?

TergitolTM surfactants, like TergitolTM-type NP-40 and other varieties, are nonionic and nonylphenol-ethoxylate based. They have a pH value of six (pH ~ 6.0) and are commercially available as detergent coupling agents. Tergitol is an emulsifier and stabilizer that appears as a highly water-soluble yellow liquid. Several varieties of DOW TergitolTM NP Nonionic Surfactants are available with slightly different properties and uses. They are useful for both isolation and subsequent purification of functional membrane proteins. TergitolTM NP-40 is frequently used to effectively break open membranes within a cell, including the nuclear membrane. Common applications include paper and textile processing, agrochemicals, cleaners, detergents, paints, coatings, metalworking fluids, and more.

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What Is a Triton Surfactant and What Is It Used For?

TritonTM X-100 is a nonionic surfactant with the formula C14H22O(C2H4O)n (n=9-10) containing a hydrophilic polyethylene oxide chain. It has, on average, 9.5 units ethylene oxide. In addition, it has an aromatic hydrophobic group or hydrocarbon lipophilic. Undiluted, it appears as a viscous, clear liquid. Its viscosity is approximately 270 cPs at 25°C in toluene, xylene, water, ethylene glycol, ethyl alcohol, ethyl ether, isopropyl alcohol, trichloroethylene, and ethylene dichloride. It is insoluble in mineral spirits, naphtha, and kerosene without a coupling agent.

Uses of TritonTM X-100 and other members of the TritonTM family vary. It has industrial purposes for metal plating, reduces aqueous-solution surface tension during immunostaining, and helps soft composite materials with the dispersion of carbon, among many other applications. TritonTM surfactants are most common used as a laboratory detergent, where it functions to lyse cells for the extraction of protein or organelles.

Tergitol vs. Triton

TergitolTM and TritonTM surfactants, although broadly recognized as industry-standard surfactants, have very different properties. Formulators must strongly consider their intended application before deciding which TergitolTM or TritonTM surfactant to select for use.

The TergitolTM and TritonTM line of nonionic detergents are considered lighter in comparison with other chemicals used for detergent lysis. Depending on the application you have in mind for your surfactant, it’s possible to interchange NP-40 and TritonTM X-100 to achieve similar results. Both DOW TergitolTM chemicals and DOW TritonTM chemicals will work for detergency, wetting, cleaning, and emulsification, among other uses. Both are also used when there is a high need for increased surface activity and can be important ingredients in primary emulsifier mixtures.

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