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Topical softeners

TISSUE ADDITIVES


Surface softness properties of recycled, poor quality, or low strength fibers are easily improved by topical applications of formulated emollients and softening agents. 


Often, topical softening is combined with wet end softening so as to generate a luxurious, premium tissue product. Since these softeners do not have to be highly substantive to be effective, their range includes oils, silicones, and natural fatty derivatives.

There are several potential application points for topical softeners. They can be applied prior to the Yankee dryer by spraying onto the top of the felt-supported sheet or as part of the Yankee coating package. Topical softeners can also be sprayed or printed onto the dryed sheet after the Yankee during converting or rewinding.

Tensile strength loss is minor when softeners are applied at the Yankee or later.

Topical formulations can be applied as concentrates or as aqueous dispersions which are prediluted with an in-line static mixer. The desired effect is typically achieved with application dosages of 0.5 - 4 wt. % add-on.

Preferably, the topical softeners remain on the sheet surface rather than migrate deeper as this compromises overall softness perception. Formulations with cationic ammonium surfactants are particularly suited for this application.

Spray applications require softener packages which are low viscosity, typically below 200 mPas. The softener formulations should be low in VOC content solvents so as to minimize environmental emissions. Spray booms and nozzles must be oriented so that there is uniform coverage of the sheet. 

Spray applications require softener packages which are low viscosity, typically below 200 mPas. The softener formulations should be low in VOC content solvents so as to minimize environmental emissions. Spray booms and nozzles must be oriented so that there is uniform coverage of the sheet. 

If the softener is added as part of the Yankee coating package, it must be completely compatible to the formulation and not adversely affect release of the sheet. 

Objective odors cannot be imparted by the topical packages. 

Since tissue products are used for cosmetic and personal hygiene, topical additives cannot be skin sensitizers. Often, there is a desire for some of the soft coating to be transferred to impart a beneficial skin-feel, so emollients are prefered as components of topical finishes. 

Requirements for Topical Softeners:
  • Low migration

  • Premium surface feel

  • Mild and non-sensitizing

  • Compatible with the Yankee coating package (in some applications)

  • Low viscosity

  • Low VOC solvents

  • Mild or low odor

 

Our topical softeners are based on specialty blends of compounds derived from natural fats and oils or organomodified siloxanes. This enables us to select from a broad array of options in order to match our products with customer’s performance requirements. The organomodified siloxanes are specialty formulations which are easily sprayed or printed onto tissue to improve softness.

We often work closely with customers to develop topical softeners which are specific to their application. 

 

Within Evonik, sensory handpanels are used to assess the efficacy of topical formulations which have been oversprayed onto untreated tissue or laboratory handsheets. Typically, an airbrush is used to uniformly distribute the finish over the sheets. Experienced panelists are asked to rate the surface feel on a scale of 1 - 5 where 5 represents a premium, soft feel. Points are then totaled from all of the panelists to distinguish product performance.