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Types and Characteristics of Various Softeners

Jul 1, 2021

The role of softener
1. Supplement the natural oils lost by natural fibers in scouring and bleaching processes, making the hand feel more ideal.
2. Attach to natural fiber or synthetic fiber to improve smoothness and strength, and improve hand feeling.
3. Improve the wearability of fabrics through certain characteristics of softeners.

In order to achieve the above-mentioned effects, softeners are generally grease-like smoothness and hand-feel substances. Adhering to the fiber surface can reduce the frictional resistance between the fibers and make the fibers lubricate and soft. Some softeners can be cross-linked with some plate groups on the fiber to achieve the purpose of washing durability.

Softener requirements
1. Under various soft processing conditions, the working fluid should be very stable. 2. Does not reduce the whiteness and color fastness of fibers or fabrics.
3. The softened fiber or fabric is not easy to be discolored by heat, and should not produce color or change during storage.
Feel and smell
4. If the softener is emulsion, its emulsion stability is better.
5. According to different processing requirements, it can have proper water absorption or water repellency, anti-static properties and other properties (should be selected according to the different requirements of the fabric). It is resistant to washing or dry cleaning.
6. There is no adverse effect after human skin contact.

Due to the wide variety of textiles, different fibers used, different fabric specifications, different fabric uses, and different finishing requirements, the selection of softeners cannot be generalized. On the basis of the softening mechanism and functions of various softeners, choose the one that meets the requirements. Softener. In addition, the performance of each softener is always limited. To obtain multiple performance effects, two or more softeners can be used in combination (or compounded into a new softener product). For example, the compound application of silicone softener and long-chain aliphatic softener can achieve a good effect of soft, plump and smooth hand feeling. It can also combine the application of softener with mechanical softening and often obtain good results. effect.
Types of softener

Softeners are the most numerous and the largest type of additives in dyeing and finishing auxiliaries. According to reports, among the 920 domestic and foreign auxiliaries samples collected by the Shanghai Institute of Printing and Dyeing Technology from 1990 to 1999, 350 were softeners, accounting for 38%. According to the chemical structure of so many softeners, there are basically two categories: long-chain aliphatic or high molecular polymer. The long chain of hydrocarbons in the molecular structure of the long-chain aliphatic softener can be irregularly arranged in a crimped state to form molecular flexibility. The flexible molecules adsorb on the surface of the fiber to play a lubricating role, reducing the fiber and The dynamic and static friction coefficient of the fiber.

Therefore, the long-chain aliphatic structure generally has a good softening effect. In the softening agent, there are not only many varieties, but also a relatively large amount. Such softeners can be divided into anionic, cationic, nonionic and amphoteric types according to their ionicity. In addition, for natural oils and paraffin softeners, because they are natural lubricating substances, they can be regarded as a separate category, but they are also classified into different ionic categories according to the ionicity of the emulsifier used. There are mainly two types of molecular polymer softeners: polyethylene and silicone. The varieties of polyethylene softeners are relatively simple--, the dosage is also less, the dosage is also less, and the use is more: the main thing is the silicone softener. Since the main chain of polysiloxane is a helical linear structure that is easy to bend, it can rotate freely in 360 degrees, and the energy required for rotation is almost zero. Therefore, the molecular structure of polysiloxane conforms to the softening mechanism of textiles. It can not only reduce the static and dynamic friction coefficients between the fibers, but also reduce the intermolecular force and reduce the surface tension of the fibers. It is a soft finishing agent for textiles. Ideal material. Silicone softener is the fastest growing softener variety in recent years.

Anionic softener
In addition to soap, sulfonated oil, etc., the anionic softener is mainly composed of cationic compounds or anionic and nonionic compounds with long chain alkanes such as stearyl succinate sodium sulfonate and stearyl ester sulfate. -Generally has good wettability and thermal stability, can be used in the same bath with fluorescent whitening agent, and can be used as a softener for extra-white fabrics. It is also more suitable for cellulose fibers, which can give fabrics better water absorption, but its absorption of fibers is similar to that of direct dyes, which is relatively weak, so the softening effect is poor, and the kick is washed away. In addition, because it has a softening effect in the bath, it can be used for silk scouring to prevent scratches (grey scratches).
Non-ionic softener

Non-ionic softeners are generally polyoxy-Z alkylene esters (or ethers) of decaacid (or alcohol), quaternary alcohol or fatty ester esters of sorbitol. Since non-ionic softeners have poorer absorption to fibers than ionic softeners, they can only play a smoothing effect. However, it can be used in combination with ionic softeners, has good compatibility with other materials, has good electrolyte stability, and does not have the disadvantage of yellowing the fabric. It can be used as a non-durable soft finishing agent, and can also be used as a synthetic fiber spinning oil. An important part of the agent. Some of its products can be used as silk-like finishing agents for "Simingyin" fabrics.

Cationic softener
There are many varieties of this kind of softener, and the most common softener is currently used.
Mainly because most fibers are negatively charged in water, cationic softeners are easily adsorbed on the surface of the fibers, have strong binding ability, can withstand high temperatures and wash, and the fabrics are plump and smooth after finishing, which can improve the wear resistance and wear resistance of the fabrics. It has a strong tearing force and has a certain antistatic effect on synthetic fibers. Therefore, it is widely used in cotton, nylon, acrylic and other fabrics, and this variety is also suitable for silk. However, some cationic softeners are easy to cause yellowing at high temperature, accompanied by a decline in light fastness. The cationic softener is generally a derivative of octadecylamine or dimethyloctadecylamine or a condensate of stearic acid and polyvinyl polyamine. According to its structure, it can be divided into tertiary amine softener, quaternary ammonium salt softener, imidazoline quaternary ammonium salt softener, dialkyl dimethyl quaternary ammonium salt softener and so on.

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