Sodium 2-(2-dodecyloxyethoxy)ethyl sulphate
Yellowish white paste
160 Kg Drums, 18.88 MT/20' FCL; 170 Kg Drums, 20 MT/20'FCL
SLES, or Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate, has the formula C24H50Na2O5S. It is a yellowish-white paste that acts as a surfactant or anionic detergent. The commercial product is an aqueous solution containing 30–70% SLES by weight. Its properties are similar to those of sodium lauryl sulfate, its non-ether cousin (SLS). Both are widely used in home and industrial cleaners, as well as personal care products.
SLES is produced on the basis of lauryl alcohol (dodecanol), which in turn is obtained from vegetable lauric oils. Laurin oils can be extracted from palm kernel oils or coconut oil. Palm kernel oils account for about 80% of the fatty alcohols and surfactants produced from them, while the remaining 20% are attributed to coconut oil.The manufacturing process is as follows:
- Dodecanol is obtained by hydrogenating the fatty acids and fatty acid esters from palm kernel and coconut oil and then working up the reaction mixture.
- SLES is produced by reacting dodecanol with ethylene oxide. The number of oxyethylene units is usually about 2.
- Sulphur trioxide is then used for sulphation.
- A by-product of this process is 1,4-dioxane, which is harmful to health. The end product with two oxyethylene units, sodium 2-(2-dodecyloxyethoxy)ethyl sulphate, is considered irritating to the skin and eyes.