Alkylphenols are used in many different applications across various industry sectors.
They are typically used as intermediates (reactants) for the production of further derivatives or as monomers in polymers. Once reacted, alkylphenols are chemically bound in the derivatives, thereby reducing the likelihood of potential widespread exposure to alkylphenols for man or the environment. In the majority of the final products and applications, alkylphenols are not present other than as very minor impurities.
The most common industrial use for alkylphenols is in the manufacturing of non-ionic surfactants. These surfactants display a range of unique qualities including good chemical stability and excellent wetting, emulsifying and detergent properties.
Several important AP’s are key reactants in the production of stabilizers that allow coatings and durable plastic items to withstand the effects of UV light, oxidation and heat even when the stabilizer is used at very low concentrations. They can also play a key role in helping with the processing and recycling of various types of polymers. A variety of alkylphenol derivatives also have uses in PVC plasticizer intermediates.
Alkylphenol derived compounds are used as a dispersant in lubricants to extend the service life and improve the performance of engines and like the AP derived stabilizers, they can also act as antioxidants which helps extends the useful service life of oils and greases used by industry and the consumer.
Alkylphenol derivatives can help make resins more water resistant, more soluble in oil and can improve electrical properties. Some AP’s are used in epoxy resin hardeners. Another important application is in tackifier resins that are used in the manufacture of rubber articles, especially in the manufacture of tires for automotive, truck and heavy equipment uses, as well as in technical rubber.
Specialised AP’s can improve stability, colour acceptance, reduce water sensitivity and reduce foaming in paints and coatings. Some AP derivatives are also used to improve the weatherability of coatings used on bridges, aircraft, vessels, automobiles, buildings and elsewhere.
Specific derivatives are used for a range of applications in the pharmaceutical industry, crop protection products, paper production and as auxiliary agents for drilling rigs.