Updated: Sep 30, 2021
Some applications require conditions that require a very strong alkali. The majority of commercially available surfactants are susceptible to caustic, especially as the concentration increases. As the caustic concentration increases, a surfactant can quickly lose its surface activity.
For formulations such as hard surface cleaners for stubborn stains, alkali levels at low to medium levels can be formulated with the use of a hydrotrope. The presence of a hydrotrope ensures the detergent remains stable.
More details can be found on the blog: Alkali Cleaners and the use of Hydrotropes
However for extremely high caustic levels and in high-temperature conditions, Lanphos TEP4K can be used. Under normal conditions this product isn't surface active, but as soon as the alkali level is increased the product become surface active.
The following highlights this: An highly alkaline KOH formulation is prepared and the surface tension (a measure of surface activity) is measured as the temperature is increased.
The surface tension reduces as the temperature increases.
Featured Product: Lanphos TEP4K