Some Like It Soft - Wacker Chemie AG

Some Like It Soft


The fabrics treated with silicone were also considerably easier to iron. To determine the sliding speed of an iron, the WACKER chemists built a sloped surface with a length of just under 90 centimeters and an inclination angle of six to seven degrees in the Burghausen lab. This also showed that, if the fabric softener is formulated with silicone, the iron glides over the fabric more quickly (Figure 2).

WACKER employees in Burghausen were roped in to test the softness of terry towels – washed once with silicone and once without – in a series of comparative studies (Figure 3). The employees were handed the towels, anonymized, so without any markings. “This haptic comparative study showed that fabrics were clearly perceived to be much softer when WACKER® FC 218 was added to the fabric softener,” reports test supervisor Dr. Becker.


Fewer Additives, but Better Properties

“In addition to improving the parameters softness, hydrophilicity and ease of ironing, the formulation of fabric softeners with WACKER® FC 218 offers cost benefits,” emphasizes Care & Coatings BT head Fransehn. Even though it contains fewer additives overall, the WACKER® FC 218 test formulation still has better properties than a fabric softener based solely on esterquats, according to him. “Although mixing equipment may have to be converted to permit the addition of silicone fluid emulsions,” continues Fransehn, “such investments will pay off quickly, because fewer raw materials are consumed.”

In addition to reducing energy consumption, the fact that esterquats are heated during the manufacture of fabric softeners, while silicones are not, also contributes to cost cutting. The use of silicones also reduces logistical costs: fewer additives mean less packaging material and lower transportation and warehousing costs. “Accordingly, in the medium to long term, the switch to WACKER® FC 218 makes economic sense for formulators,” summarizes Fransehn.