The US Patent and Trademark Office issued patent number 7,973,004 to K. Abraham Vaynberg, a research scientist at the Kentucky-based firm, for the invention.
The patent is called ‘Rheology modifier for aqueous surfactant-based formulations,’ and describes how hydrophobically modified polymers can be used to thicken surfactant-based formulations for personal care, oral care, household and institutional applications.
According to Ashland, the invention can create shampoo formulations with fewer surfactants, making shampoos gentler on the environment and potentially offering cost savings to the shampoo manufacturers by using less surfactant.
Lowering amount of surfactants used
The invention is particularly useful in thickening formulations containing lower amounts of surfactants where the traditional thickening approaches do not work.
According to Ashland, the produced formulations have the same feel (i.e. rheology, or viscosity profile) as the traditional formulations found on store shelves everywhere.
"It is always gratifying to find a technical solution that meets customer needs, but what was especially exciting in this case was that we were able to take the newly developed Aquaflow XLS technology for thickening paints and adapt it in an entirely different application," said Vaynberg.
"Obviously, such adaptations are the most cost effective option from a product development standpoint and make perfect business sense.”
Vaynberg continued to explain that in addition, industries involving hair care, skin care, household cleaners, wipes and detergents can derive benefits from the patent.
Ashland recently acquired specialty chemicals manufacturer International Specialty Products (ISP) in a move to expand its business in the global market, especially in personal care.
It is reported it paid $3.2bn (€2.2bn) for New Jersey-headquartered ISP in an agreement that closed in September.
Ashland said the acquisition strengthens its position in many high growth, high margin markets such as personal care, with its skin care, hair care and oral care sectors, as well as targeting the pharmaceutical market.