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Water/Oil Repellent Finishing Agent

With different finishing agents, water/oil repellent finishing can treat and change the surface properties of fiber materials, such as the transition of hydrophilicity and lipophilicity. Alfa Chemistry offers a range of water/oil repellent finishes to meet your high demands on the surface properties of fiber materials.


Water-repellent finishing: The water-repellent finishing transforms the surface properties of the fiber material from hydrophilic to hydrophobic, that is, the surface tension of the fiber is lower than that of water. Water has a high surface tension (72.8 mN/m).

Water/Oil Repellent Finishing Agent

Oil-repellent finishing: The oil-repellent finishing changes the surface properties of the fiber material to oleophobicity, that is, the surface tension of the fiber is lower than that of the oil. Typically, oils have a surface tension of 20-40 mN/m.

Water- and oil-repellent finishing: The finishing process that forms a water- and oil-repellent surface on the fibers is called water- and oil-repellent finishing. In general, when only considering surface tension, finishes with lower surface tensions exhibit both oil and water repellency.

Antifouling finishing: On the basis of oil repellency, antifouling finishing agent has also been developed.

Surface tension of several liquids

TypeSurface Tension /mN·m-1TypeSurface Tension /mN·m-1
H2O72.8Carbon Tetrachloride26.9

Typical Products

  • Water Repellent Finishing Agent
    Representative products of water-repellent finishing agents include metal salt finishing agents (such as paraffin-aluminum soap, aluminum acetate, aluminum formate, zirconium oxychloride), pyridine quaternary ammonium salts, metal complexes of long-chain fatty acids, organosilicon compounds, methylol melamine derivatives, organic fluorine finishing agent.

Schematic diagram of the mechanism of silicone water repellent.Schematic diagram of the mechanism of silicone water repellent. [1]

  • Oil Repellent Finishing Agent
    At present, oil-repellent finishing agents are mainly organic fluorine finishing agents, which are generally polymers containing perfluoroalkyl side chains (-CnF2n+1, n>7). Perfluorinated long-chain alkyl groups are oriented on the fiber surface, making the fiber oil-repellent, and can also be linked with acrylic acid through groups such as sulfonamide.

Mechanism And Applicability

  • Water repellent and oil repellent are compounds with low surface energy groups, which can evenly coat a layer of water repellent or oil repellent molecules on the fiber surface, and form a new surface by their low surface energy, thus neither water nor oil can wet it.
  • Water-repellent finishing agents can obtain sufficient water repellency by using hydrophobic aliphatic hydrocarbon compounds with a critical surface tension of about 30 mN/m, or by using a silicone finishing agent with a critical surface tension of about 24 mN/m.
  • Oil-repellent finishing agents must use fluorocarbon finishing agents to reduce the critical surface tension of fibers below 15mN/m.
  • In addition, the water-repellent or oil-repellent agent must be firmly attached to the surface of the fiber, and its molecular structure must also have other corresponding groups to react with the fiber or have a strong adhesion function to the fiber.


  1. Xiaoli Liu, et al. RSC Adv., 2019, 9, 31357-31369.

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