The global solvents market is big. ~$35 billion big according to recent reports. Of that total, $4.3 billion (or 12%) is classified as non-toxic solvents. Some call them green solvents but we all know that green doesn’t necessarily mean clean. Ours come in all colors of the (non-toxic) rainbow. The sector of non-toxic, safe, renewable and sustainable chemicals is the fastest growing sector in all chemicals and especially in the solvents world.
408s command solubility parameters and other chemical and physical properties that make for excellent cleaning solvents, extraction solvents, coalescers, diluents, compatibilizers, compounding agents and lubricants. Note: 408s are hydrophobic.
One method of characterizing solvents is the Hansen Solubility Parameters (HSP), a popular tool for estimating whether a solvent will dissolve another material. The HSPs are based on dispersion forces, dipolar intermolecular force and hydrogen bonds between molecules. The following table lists petrochemical based solvents that can be replaced by 408s:
HSPs of several 408s were used to predict their applicability as cleaning solvents. Methyl 408 and Ethyl 408 were selected for a study, which was conducted by the Toxic Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at the University of Massachusetts. The study found both molecules to be very effective in cleaning solvents for applications such as dry cleaning and degreasing.
* predicted and extrapolated properties
Of particular interest is methylene chloride (DCM), a popular paint stripper that the EPA has identified with cancer risk concerns as well as short-term and long-term non-cancer risks for workers from the use of DCM-containing paint strippers. The Toxic Use Reduction Institute (TURI) in MS concluded in a study that Methyl 408 and Ethyl 408 will make a powerful, safe and nontoxic substitutes to DCM.
Methyl 408 and Ethyl 408 are also excellent substitutes for other common solvents such as n-propyl bromide, cyclohexanone, methyl ethyl ketone, methyl acetate and acetone for some applications.
The following images provide a (very) simplistic demonstration regarding paint stripping application. Red acrylic paint removal was conducted under controlled conditions using methylene chloride vs. a mixture of 84% Ethyl 408 and 16% ethanol. The bars were dipped in the solutions at 65°F and the paint removal was compared. The bars are shown in the figure below.
As can be seen, the Ethyl 408 blend was equally effective as methylene chloride at stripping the acrylic paint from the aluminum bars.
xF Technologies offers a range of processing and extraction solvents to enhance the operation of existing processes. In addition to Methyl and Ethyl 408, some additional examples include Methoxy 408, Ethylene Glycol 408 and Ethyl Hexyl 408. These molecules are shown in the figures below.