Application of Hydroxyethyl Cellulose (HEC)

Views: 678 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2021-11-19 Origin: Site

HEC is the abbreviation of hydroxyethyl cellulose. It is a white or light yellow, odorless, non-toxic fibrous or powdered solid, prepared by etherification of alkaline cellulose and ethylene oxide (or chloroethanol), and is non-ionic soluble cellulose ethers. As a non-ionic surfactant, it has the properties of thickening, suspending, bonding, floating, film-forming, dispersing, water-retaining and providing protective colloid functions, it can be used in various applications:

●Building materials

HEC can be used in gypsum, cement, lime and mortar systems, tile paste and mortar. In the cement component, it can be used as a retarder and water-retaining agent. In the surface treatment of siding operations, it is used in the preparation of latex, which can pre-prepare the surface and relieve the pressure on the wall, so that the effect of painting and surface coating is best; it can be used as a thickener for wallpaper adhesive.

HEC can improve the performance of gypsum mortar by increasing the hardening and application time. In terms of compressive strength, torsional strength and dimensional stability, HEC has the best effect than other celluloses.

●Cosmetics and detergents

HEC is an effective film-forming agent, binder, thickener, stabilizer and dispersant in shampoos, hair sprays, neutralizers, hair conditioners and cosmetics. Its thickening and protective colloid properties can be used in the liquid detergent and solid detergent industries. HEC dissolves quickly at high temperatures, which can speed up the production process and improve production efficiency. As we all know, the obvious feature of detergents containing HEC is that it can improve the smoothness and mercerization of fabrics.

●For latex polymerization

HEC with a certain molar substitution degree, which can play a better effect in the process of catalyzing and protecting colloidal polymerization; in controlling the growth of polymer particles, stabilizing latex performance, low and high temperature resistance, and resistance to mechanical shearing, HEC can play a better effect. During the polymerization reaction of latex, HEC can protect the concentration of colloid within a critical range, and control the size of polymer particles and the degree of freedom of reactive groups.

●Petroleum mining

HEC has viscosity increasing properties in processing and filling mud. It helps to provide a good low-solid mud, and can reduce the damage to the wellbore to a lesser extent. Mud thickened with HEC is easily degraded into hydrocarbons by acid, enzyme or oxidant, and oil can be recovered to a greater extent. 

In the fracturing mud, HEC can carry mud and sand. These fluids can also be easily degraded by the above acids, enzymes or oxidants.

HEC can be used to formulate ideal low solids drilling fluid, which provides the largest permeability and best drilling stability. Its fluid restraint properties can be used in the drilling of hard rock formations, and it is also applicable to the drilling of collapsed or slumped slabs.

In the operation of filling cement, HEC reduces the friction of the pore pressure cement slurry, thereby reducing the damage to the structure caused by the loss of water to a lesser extent.


Hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC) can effectively suspend solid poisons in water-based sprays.

HEC can play a role in adhering toxins on leaves when applied in spraying operations; HEC can be used as a thickening agent for spray emulsions to reduce drug drift and increase the effect of foliar spraying.

HEC can also be used as a film-forming agent for seed coating agents; as a binder for tobacco leaf recycling.


●Coating thickener

The latex paint containing HEC component has the properties of fast dissolution, low foam, good thickening effect, good color expansion and stability. Its non-ionic properties help stabilize in a wide range of pH values ​​and allow a wide range of formulations.

The most outstanding performance of XT series products is to add thickener to water to control hydration at the beginning of pigment grinding.

The high-viscosity grades XT-20, XT-40, XT-50 are mainly developed and used in the production of water-soluble latex paints, and the dosage is smaller than other thickeners.

●Paper and ink

HEC can be used as a glazing agent for paper and cardboard and a protective glue for ink. It has the advantage of not being affected by paper size in printing, and can be used for printing high-quality images. At the same time, it can also reduce costs due to its low surface permeability and strong gloss.

It can also be used for printing on any size paper or cardboard or calendar printing. In the sizing of paper, the usual dosage is 0.5 ~ 2.0 g/m2.

In the paper making process, HEC has other excellent properties, including compatibility with most gums, resins and inorganic salts, instant solubility, low foam, low oxygen consumption and the ability to form a smooth surface film.

In ink manufacturing, HEC is used in the production of water-based copying inks, which can dry quickly and have good color diffusion without adhesion.

●Fabric sizing

HEC has long been used for sizing, dyeing and finishing of yarns and fabric materials. This glue can be washed away from the fibers by washing with water. In mixing with other resins, HEC can be widely used in fabric treatment. It is used as a forming agent and adhesive in glass fiber, and as a modifier and adhesive in leather slurry.

●Fabric latex coatings, adhesives

HEC are pseudoplastic, that is, they become thinner under shear, but can quickly return to high viscosity control and improve the clarity of printing and dyeing.

HEC can control the release of water and allow it to flow continuously on the printing and dyeing roller without adding adhesive. Controlling the release of water allows more open time, which is conducive to the containment of the filler and the formation of a better adhesive film without significantly increasing the drying time.

When the concentration of HEC XT-4 in the solution is 0.2% to 0.5%, it can improve the mechanical strength of the non-woven adhesive, reduce the wet cleaning cotton on the wet material roll, and increase the wet strength of the final product.

HEC XT-40 is an ideal adhesive for printing and dyeing of non-fabrics, and can obtain clear and beautiful images.

HEC can be used as an adhesive for acrylic coatings and an adhesive for non-fabric processing. It is also used as a thickener for fabric primers and adhesives. It does not react with fillers and is still effective at low concentrations.

●Dyeing and printing of textile carpets

 In the dyeing of carpets, such as the Custers continuous dyeing system, few other thickeners can match the thickening effect and compatibility of HEC. Because of its good thickening effect, easily soluble in various solvents, low impurity content does not interfere with dye absorption and color diffusion, so that printing and dyeing are not affected by insoluble gel (this insoluble gel can cause spots on the fabric) and Uniformity limitation of high technical requirements.

●Other applications

fire protection—

HEC can be used as an additive to increase the coverage of fire protection materials and has been widely used in the preparation of fire protection "thickeners".


HEC can improve the wet strength and shrinkability of cement sand and sodium silicate sand systems.

Microscopy technology—

HEC can be used for the production of film and as a dispersant for the production of microscopic slides.


Used as a thickening agent in fluids with high salt concentration for processing film.

Fluorescent tube coatings—

Used as fluorescent agent binder and stable dispersant in fluorescent tube coatings in a uniform and controllable proportion. Selecting different levels and concentrations of HEC can control adhesion and wet strength.


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