Sodium ethasulfate, known as sodium 2-ethylhexyl sulfate, is a clear, colorless, viscous, and nonflammable liquid that belongs to the sodium sulfate chemical group. On heating, sodium ethasulfate decomposes to release toxic fumes of sodium dioxide and sulfur dioxide. The product is manufactured through the aldol condensation of butyraldehyde to alcohol and then converted into sodium salt of sulfate. The salt is then fumed with sodium hydroxide and sulfuric acid to form sodium ethasulfate. Sodium ethasulfate is usually stable; however, it is incompatible with strong oxidizing agents. Due to its unique solubility and penetrating action, it is widely used in various end-user industries such as textile, chemical production, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, metal working, and food processing. The product is safe to handle; however, it can de-fat the skin and cause irritation to the eyes. Commercially, it is sold as aqueous solution with concentration range of 40% to 50%.
Textile and chemical have been the major industries driving the demand for sodium ethasulfate since the last few years. Sodium ethasulfate is used as wetting agent in the textile industry. The product is used along with calcium hypochlorite as a bleaching agent. The product is used as mercerizing agent for cotton processing in the chemical industry. Furthermore, it is employed as intermediate in anoinic surfactants that are used for dishwashing detergents. It is also used as surfactant in lye washing and peeling process. Sodium ethasulfate is also employed as surfactant in metal working applications. It is used in acid pickling bath, wherein it helps in reducing the pickling time and amount of acid required for this process.
Sodium ethasulfate is also employed in the formulation of offset printing fountain solutions. It is also employed as an intermediate in agrochemicals as well as pharmaceuticals. In the pharmaceutical industry, it is used to enhance the bactericidal properties of generic antiseptics that are more acidic. It is also employed as surfactant in penicillin production for breaking undesired reaction conditions. Sodium ethasulfate is also used as a wetting agent in the electroplating industry due to its stability in higher pH solutions. It also aids in eliminating the pitting caused by impurities on the metal surfaces. Industries such as pharmaceutical and agrochemicals are likely to offer market opportunities for sodium ethasulfate in the next few years. Despite the high number of applications, the sodium ethasulfate market is expected to exhibit stagnant growth in the next few years. Stringent environmental and health regulations are likely to hamper the market growth. Due to its direct contact with food and skin, the product is governed by the U.S. FDA and U.S EPA.
Asia Pacific, North America, and Europe have been the major consumers of sodium ethasulfate in the recent past. With high demand from chemicals and textile industries, Asia Pacific is expected to dominate the market for sodium ethasulfate during the forecast period. China, India, and ASEAN are likely to boost the demand for sodium ethasulfate in the near future due to the exponential growth in agrochemicals, chemicals, and textile industries. The U.S. and Western Europe are projected to exhibit stable growth with environmental regulations playing a key role in market growth. Latin America is likely to provide growth opportunities due to the high demand from agrochemicals and food lye processing industries.
Manufacturers of sodium ethasulfate include Alpha Chemicals Pvt. Ltd, Stephan Company, Niacet Corporation, and Solvay. These companies offer sodium ethasulfate with 40% to 50% concentrations.