One of the most versatile chemicals Air Products S.A. introduced to local industry is its Surfynol series of surfactants, developed by its parent company in the United States, Air Products and Chemicals Incorporated (APCI).

Surfactants, which are based on acetylenic diol chemistry, is a group of chemicals that is widely used in the wetting, de-foaming and emulsifying processes in specially formulated products.

The Surfynol series of surfactants has been used in the coatings, inks and adhesives markets in South Africa for the past two decades.

“The new surfactants brings further advantages to the concrete additive industry as well as the cement end-user,” says David Mitchley, Product Manager for Air Products South Africa’s chemical division.

“This new Surfynol product is a non-foaming wetting agent which has enabled formulators to improve on the inherent strength of concrete and enhance productivity.”

Air Products S.A., which imports these chemicals from APCI, has long served two of the country’s largest chemical companies specialising in construction chemicals.

“Although the market is limited in that it is highly specialised, innovations in the field of concrete have a significant impact on the construction industry because of these tangible benefits to both the manufacturer and the end-user,” says Mitchley.

The use of the latest versions of Surfynol surfactant chemicals also has important legislative implications, according to Vernon Ndimande, Chemicals General Manager at Air Products South Africa.

“Introducing the Surfynol 500 S wetting agents can help companies comply with international volatile organic compound (VOC) legislation. VOC legislation is in place in many parts of the world in order to get industries to change from solvent-based formulations to water-based formulations,” says Ndimande. “This latest surfactant technology is therefore in line with global environmental standards.”

With more than 30 years’ experience in the field of surfactant chemistry, Air Products is well placed to offer specialist advice when it comes to the niche area of concrete formulations.

“It is important to introduce to the local construction industry the latest developments in admixture formulations. While a manufacturer may be comfortable with a product they have used for decades, Air Products’ ongoing research and development in industrial chemical formulation has an overriding aim: to bring multi-faceted benefits to our customers which include performance, cost-savings and environmental compliance,” Ndimande concludes.