Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Polymers and Coatings


Chemistry & Biochemistry


Raymond Fernando


Surfactants and Thickeners are both additives used in fully-formulated waterborne coatings to provide colloidal stability, thickening, and other functionality. The behavior of each ingredient in a coating must be understood and controlled to maintain colloidal stability as well as balance other desired properties of the liquid coating and the dry paint film. In this work, quaternary systems of Water-Latex-Thickener-Surfactant were investigated to further the understanding of their behavior in coatings. The thickener used was a well characterized, hydrophobically-modified, ethoxylated urethane (HEUR) with two C18 terminal hydrophobes and 795 average repeat units of ethylene oxide as the hydrophilic spacer. Two latexes, a hydrophobic butyl acrylate/styrene and a hydrophilic butyl acrylate/methyl methacrylate, each containing a small amount of methacrylic acid monomer were used. Six different surfactants, three non-ionic and three-anionic, were used. By maintaining the concentrations of latex and HEUR thickener as constants and varying the surfactant concentration, effects of the surfactant loading on rheology were determined. As concentration of surfactant increases, a characteristic shear-thickening maximum associated with bridging of latex particles by the HEUR thickener was seen to shift to higher shear rates; surfactants at all concentrations studied, except SDS, lowered the viscosities within the low shear rate region. Dynamic viscoelastic measurements shed further light into the behavior of the mixtures. The results will be explained based on surfactant and latex surface polarities and the competitive adsorption between the v surfactant and HEUR hydrophobes, and other interactions between surfactants and thickeners.