NonylPhenol Ethoxylates (NPE) are non-ionic surface active agents that do not breakdown in solution to ions. NPEs are used in the production of industrial, agricultural and a limited number of consumer/ domestic products.
They are widely used as detergents than ionic surfactants because anionic surfactants are insoluble in hard water and cationic ones are considered to be poor cleaners. Moreover non-ionic surfactants have excellent solving tendency, low foaming properties and chemical stability. The hydrophilic group of nonionic surfactants is a polymerized alkene oxide (water soluble polyether with 10 to 100 units length typically). They are prepared by polymerization of ethylene oxide, propylene oxide, and butylene oxide in the same molecule. Depending on the chemical and physical properties, nonionic surfactants can be a wetting agent, a detergent, or an emulsifier.
NPE are commonly used in: