Seeking 'greener' technologies to inhibit colors from attaching to polyquaternium on fibers/textiles

  • Anonymous Organization
  • From United States
  • Responsive
  • Deadline completed
    The submission process for new proposals is closed. Proposals submitted before the deadline will follow the standard evaluation process.

Desired outcome

We are seeking technologies to neutralize, block or inhibit the reaction between polyquaternium compounds (PQs) and color 'bodies' in aqueous environments.

Details of the Technology Call

The effect has been noted at various conditions. The temperature of the water can be anywhere from 5'C to 95'C. The ration of textile to water is from 1:10 to 1:3. The pH of the water can be from 6 to 11. This is not to say these are limits as more extreme conditions may also exhibit the effect. PQs are known to provide benefits such as nice 'feel' at low cost in many personal care products however when the personal care product is directly applied to fibers and fabrics, they can cause staining. If any colors come into contact with the PQs in an aqueous environment, the PQs will effectively 'suck in' the color bodies. The color bodies can be from grass stains, inorganic particulate soils (clay) or even fugitive dyes from other fabrics. The adhering is most acute with cotton fibers, but solutions that prevent adhering on any fibers are of interest.
The current blocking approach uses sulfonated styrene malaic anhydride (SSMA) in high concentration to inhibit color bodies from contacting and adhering to the PQ.

We believe that the cationic substituents are a cause of the problem. Nonionic based detergents are most affected by this phenomenon while detergents with high anionic surfactant levels exhibit similar behavior, but to a much lesser degree; Note, however, that [PQ7], which is common in many hand soaps appears to be unaffected by surfactant type.. Neutralizing the polyquat positive charges seems to help in inhibiting the reaction.

Possible Solutions:

- Remove the poly quats from the fibers
- Provide a cheaper alternative to SSMA to neutralize or block color bodies from contacting/adhering. This could be accomplished either by targeting the PQs directly, or by generically infusing the whole aqueous environment with the blocker/inhibitor (as is currently done)
- Reduce the amount of SSMA required to effectively block the adhering (current concentrations for efficacy in a nonionic surfactant based detergent are 60 ppm to the aqueous system )
- Target the stain directly (have to get there before the color gets there) OR generic solution (much higher concentrations required).


- Needs to be human-safe (GRAS)
- Preferably biodegradable
- Definitely needs to meet Design for the Environment (EPA) criteria

Desired Outcome
Cheaper, more sustainable method for preventing colors from adhering to PQs during washing of the underlying fibers/fabrics.

Previously Attempted Solutions
Using poly sulfonated styrene malaic anhydride (SSMA) – inhibits the color bodies from contacting and adhering to the PQ.
Attemped to use polycarboxylates, acrylates and co-polymers. Solvents - mineral spirits, polar, non-polar, even chlorinated. None of these approaches worked.

Related Keywords

  • Colours and varnish
  • Dyeing related to Textiles Technology
  • Colours, dyes related to Chemical Technology and engineering
  • Advanced Textile Materials
  • Textile fibres
  • Textiles (synthetic and natural)
  • polyquar
  • fiber
  • fabric
  • colot

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