June 3, 2020 on 7:51 pm

Type 201 Stainless Steel Band and Buckle is the standard choice of Band-It products, offering high strength, quality appearance, and good resistance to oxidation and weathering. Engineered for a diverse range of applications in areas such as clamping, cable management, hose attachment, identification, insulation, and pole and tower mounting, Band-It Band and Buckle is fast and easy to install. Recent research has indicated, in fact, that this tried and true method is quickly becoming a popular choice for both storm prone and high theft municipalities. As opposed to the U bolt, which sacrifices strength and durability for simple installation, Band-It Band and Buckle can be counted on to securely attach signage and traffic signals to poles with the use of the C00169 Standard Banding Tool. Use of this system allows bands to be cut to size, minimizing waste and allowing the same roll of band to be applied on a variety of pole sizes and shapes. In addition, Band-It Band and Buckle System offers the following advantages:

  • Good anti-rotational strength
  • Greater wind resistance in storm areas
  • Consistent tension
  • Permanent install
  • Theft deterrence
  • Excellent vibration resistance
  • Easy Scale, patented imprint on the band to determine length quickly
  • Durable plastic tote dispensers available for on-the-go applications
  • Manufactured in the U.S.A.
April 30, 2020 on 8:52 pm

Bostik Smart Adhesives are designed to uniquely meet the technological demands of a vast array of industries including construction and manufacturing. Combining superior bonding performance with flexibility, efficiency, functionality and responsiveness, the high performance properties of Bostik’s hot melt adhesives make assembly and construction easier and more adaptive to customer’s needs.

Thermogrip 0130 Hot Melt Adhesive: 

Used in general assembly applications

  • Medium to long open time
  • White
  • Suggested running temperature – 350 – 400°F
  • Thermoset Viscosity
    • 40,000 cP @ 275°F
    • 25,250 cP @ 300°F
    • 16,375 cP @ 325°F
    • 11,250 cP @350°F

Thermogrip 6239 Hot Melt Adhesive: 

Bonds wood, metal and most plastics (including PVC)

  • Long open time (up to 75 seconds)
  • Formula meets General Motors Specifications 9985878 for seat bonding
  • Temperature resistance 0 to 239°F
  • Thermoset Viscosity
    • 6,000 cP @ 375°F
    • 3,900 cP @ 400°F

Thermogrip 6305 Hot Melt Adhesive:

For case and carton sealing applications

  • Aggressive hot tack
  • Fast set speed
  • Suggested running temperature – 300 – 400°F
  • Thermoset Viscosity
    • 4,350 cP @ 275°F
    • 2,800 cP @ 300°F
    • 1,950 cP @ 325°

Thermogrip 6390 Hot Melt Adhesive:

For general assembly applications

  • Bonds to a wide variety of substrates
  • Yellow
  • Suggested running temperature – 325 – 400°F
  • Thermoset Viscosity
    • 12,350 cP @ 350°F
    • 17,675 cP @ 325°F
    • 25,925 cP @ 300°F
    • 39,100 cP @ 275°F
April 16, 2020 on 8:47 pm

With over half a century of expertise in the development of anti-seize and lubricating compounds, Bostik Never-Seez products have emerged as an industrial front-runner in innovative protection against seizure, corrosion, pitting, and galling of metal parts. Seizure, which can be caused by a variety of factors including thread distortion, incorrect tolerances in press, tapered and shrink fits, galvanic action, and carbon deposits, makes disassembly of machinery, piping and metal parts extremely difficult. Traditionally, anti-seize compounds are formulated with a lubricant and metal or solid content that has a low coefficient of friction and are brushed on bolts, flanges and other components to eliminate the corrosion that causes a fastener to seize over time. Once the lubricant dissipates, the metallic content is left behind to facilitate removal of the fastener.

Similarly, Never-Seez contains very fine metallic particles in a special hydrocarbon carrier which seals and protects metals parts under the most extreme conditions of heat, pressure and contamination. The fine, protective film of Never-Seez cannot be washed out, burned off, or completely removed by abrasion. When applied properly, Never-Seez allows for nondestructive disassembly and bolt reuse, reducing replacement costs and maintenance down-time.

The question many users have in regard to choosing the correct anti-seize product is, “How do I know which one is the right one for me?” Selecting the correct anti-seize product begins by asking yourself these fundamental questions:

  • What application am I using this for?
  • What type of environment will this be used in?
  • Is there a temperature requirement to withstand?
  • Are there acids, alkalis, or chemicals that may come into contact with the anti-seize?

Understanding and knowing how to apply this information to your product selection will go a long way in helping you choose the appropriate anti-seize for your application.

To help you get started, we have provided a brief overview of some of these products, recommended applications and special features:

Regular Grade Never-Seez

This copper-based anti-seize is also formulated with graphite and aluminum to protect parts in temperatures ranging from -297 °F -1800°F.

  • Resists alkaline solutions, most chemical and acid vapors, road salt, steam and salt water
  • Resists galvanic action between dissimilar metals
  • Protects against carbon fusion
  • Recommended for use on pipe fittings, assemblies and gaskets.

Pure Nickel Special Never-Seez

This high temperature, extreme pressure anti-seize contains flake particles of pure nickel and graphite. Recommended for use when applications prohibit the presence of copper.

  • Protects in temperatures up to 2400°F
  • Excellent heat dispersing qualities
  • Resists galvanic action between dissimilar metals
  • Recommended for use on fasteners in exhaust manifolds and boilers, or stainless steel pipe fittings

High Temperature Stainless Never-Seez

Comprised of stainless steel, graphite and aluminum-based anti-seize and lubricating compounds. Specially designed for applications that cannot use nickel-based products.

  • Protects and prevents seizure in temperatures up to 2200°F
  • Resists alkaline solutions, chemical and acid vapors, steam and iodized water
  • Resists galvanic action between dissimilar metals
  • Recommended for use on fasteners in steel mills and power plants, reactor bolts and turbine bolts, and stainless steel pipe fittings, flanges and unions

Black Moly Never-Seez

Contains a high concentration of molybdenum disulfide for extreme pressure applications.

  • Withstands pressures up to 500,00 PSI and temperatures up to 750°F
  • Excellent for use under heavy loads and slow speeds which can result in boundary lubrication failure
  • Recommended for engine assembly and break-in, press fit assemblies, machine tool parts, highly loaded bearings, and adjusting screws

Mariner’s Choice Never-Seez

Specially formulated for protection of parts above and below the waterline, Mariner’s Choice is formulated with graphite, calcium fluoride, zinc oxide and aluminum.

  • Withstands temperatures up to 2450°F
  • Excellent resistance to water washout
  • Compatible with soft metals
  • Recommended for use on screw shafts, water pump gaskets and flanges, bilge piping, and prop shaft bearing houses

White Food Grade with PTFE Never-Seez

Formulated with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), White Food Grade Never-Seez meets FDA requirements for applications in which accidental food contact is possible.

  • Withstands temperatures up to 475°F
  • Resists water and chemical washout
  • Provides a seal against entrance of liquids in bearings
  • Recommended for chain and conveyor shafts, kettle valves, blender shafts

Pipe Compound with PTFE Never-Seez

Contains a special, high-quality grease with Teflon, mica, and zinc oxide. Formulated to provide maximum thread lubrication in a wide range of pipe threads and fittings.

  • Withstands temperatures up to 525°F
  • Non-toxic and non-hazardous
  • Suitable for contact with water, natural and propane gas, air, steam, and hydraulic oils
  • Recommended for use on black iron, galvanized stainless steel, and high pressure steam pipes in contact with cast iron, malleable, brass, stainless steel or galvanized fittings

February 26, 2020 on 5:32 pm

The demand for pressure sensitive adhesives (PSAs) is on the rise due to their incredible versatility, flexible open times, and varying degrees of tack. Designed for both permanent and removable applications, PSAs adhere to a surface when light pressure is applied, with no need for solvents, water, or heat to activate the adhesion. Unlike liquid adhesives, PSAs do not require any setup or curing time, saving business’s valuable time.

Hot Melt Pressure Sensitive Adhesives

Hot Melt Pressure Sensitive Adhesives (HMPSAs) are well known for their exceptional performance and efficiency in a wide range of industrial applications and consumer products due to their ability to move or flow without heat. Although solid at room temperature, HMPSAs are capable of cold flow under a light finger pressure at room temperature, providing free-flowing liquids that can be dispensed rapidly and precisely to the target bonding site. Hot melt adhesives remain permanently sticky, which allows for excellent adhesion even after the glue has cooled. Upon cooling, HMPSAs solidify to form strong bonds between surfaces.

Hot Melt Characteristics:

  • Thermoplastic rubber-based
  • Aggressive bond strength
  • Low temperature flexibility
  • High heat resistance


  • Aerospace components
  • Assembly adhesive
  • Automotive assembly
  • Rail
  • Food packaging
  • Baby diapers
  • Tape and label

Types of Hot Melt PSAs:

  • Polyurethane
  • Acrylic
  • Styrene block copolymer
  • Polyisobutylene

December 10, 2019 on 3:15 pm

Band-It Idex offers one of the most complete lines of municipal clamping systems for indoor and outdoor traffic management applications. With operations ranging from sign, traffic signal, traffic monitoring, motion sensor and security camera installation, the diverse range of engineered fastening solutions offered by Band-It satisfies the need for both temporary and permanent strapping products that can withstand the even the harshest elements. Manufactured from stainless 201, 316, 0r 317 and specialty steels, the corrosion and UV resistance of Band-It’s broad product selection provides a reliable and durable option for fast, easy installation.

Installation Tools:

  • C00169 Standard Banding Tool – Intended for use on band widths of 1/4″ to 3/4″ (o.15″ – 0.30″ thickness). Featuring a built-in adapter for Junior Smooth I.D. Clamps, the C00169 strapping tool tensions over 2,400 lbs. of force and comes with a built in cutter and spin handle retaining ring to keep parts intact.
  • C00369 Heavy-Duty Banding Tool – Primarily used for thicker materials, The C00369 is a heavy-duty version of the C00169 tool. Ideal for municipal applications, the C00369 will tension byond the limits of the 3300 lbs of force to yield 3/4″ wide 201SS Giant Band.  Not recommended for band widths 0.015″ or 0.020″.
  • G40269 Giant Banding Tool – Designed for use with 3/4″, 1″, 1-1/4″ width x 0.44″ thick Giant Band and Buckle.


  • Band-Fast – Pre-cut with smoother edges, Band-Fast offers a safer and more efficient strapping alternative that minimizes waste and saves up to 30% time and labor costs. Ready-to-use with preassembled clip.
  • Roll Band – The standard choice of Band-It products, the 201 Stainless Steel Roll Band features a patented “Easy Scale” imprint to help determine band width quickly and easily.  Offering high strength and good resistance to oxidation and weathering, this non-magnetic banding can be used in conjunction with clip style buckles to create band clamps.
  • Giant Band – The widest and thickest band option available, Band-It Giant Band provides maximum strength and can be formed into a single or double wrapped clamp configuration for heavy-duty applications.


  • Ear-Lokt – Versatile enough to be used with many types of Band-It stainless steel banding, Ear-Lokt Buckles provide superior fastening strength and good resistance to many moderate corrosive agents. Band-It Ear-Lokt Buckles can hold a single or double wrapped band configuration and band clamps can be formed over any contour or shape.
  • Giant Buckle, Ear-Lokt Style – For superior fastening strength, Band-It Giant Buckles can be used in combination with Band-It Giant Band.

Mounting Hardware:

  • D51089 Bolt/Clamp – Band-It Mounting Hardware can be used as a heavy-duty bracket securing hardware to poles. The D51089 can accomodate 3/4″ wide Giant Band with Buckle, sustaining hold in high vibration environments while keeping the support system compact.
  • D02189 Single Bolt Brack-It – The industry standard for all round poles greater than 3″ diameter, the single bolt flared leg brack-it features a reinforced rib design to provide additional strength against the effects of stress, wind and vibration.


September 3, 2019 on 8:17 pm

Environmental temperature fluctuations, referred to as thermal cycling, can bring about the thermal expansion and contraction of materials placed within the ambient environment, along with changes to the properties of the material itself. In especially harsh environments, these temperature fluctuations can be extreme and occur at high rates of change. In general, this environmental stress can impact a product or system’s reliability and, for systems composed of hoses, leaks are one of the leading causes of the failure as connecting elements often endure the worse stress in fluid systems. Hose fittings have to maintain a fully sealed system at all required pressures, temperatures and mechanical shocks. When the cyclical heating and cooling of a hose occurs, both the hose’s volume and material properties can change and alter the complex compression and friction interface. For example, elastomers found within the cover and inner tube of rubber hoses can become less deformable at lower temperatures; alternatively, hoses exposed to high temperatures can expand. Changes, such as these, can cause clamps to loosen over time.

In harsh environments where leaks and failures want to be prevented, Ideal Tridon SmartSeal Spring Clamps offer a reliable solution. Ideal Tridon SmartSeal Spring Clamps form a unique 360 degree seal encompassing the entire hose circumference. Guarding against both pressure and temperature changes, leak paths for both fluid and air are eliminated around all portions of the clamp as a constant and steady pressure is maintained all around the connection. The Ideal Tridon SmartSeal Spring Clamp is comprised of two primary parts, the clamp assembly and SmartLiner. The SmartLiner expands and contracts around the hose with temperature change. The clamp rides on top of the lubricated liner, distributing pressure more evenly around the hose. Leak pressure tests indicate that SmartSeal Clamps perform better in thermal cycling than typical constant tension clamps and last longer even in the most demanding environments.



April 19, 2019 on 9:41 pm

The Science Behind Solvents:

In order to better understand the difference between solvent and “non solvent”, or aqueous-based, hand cleaners, it is important to have a rudimentary understanding of the underlying chemical principles of each. In it’s simpliest form, a solvent is a substance that is able to dissolve another substance, whereas the solute is the substance being dissolved. When solvents and solutes of the same kind are mixed together and distributed evenly you get a solution; the keyword here being ‘same‘.  In chemistry, molecules are distinguished as polar or non-polar depending on their electrical or magnetic properties. Polar molecules attract other polar molecules and repel the non-polar ones. Technically, water is a solvent because virtually anything can be dissolved in it. However, due to it’s positive and negative charge, water is classified as a polar molecule. On the other hand, oil is not. As a general rule, polar solvents dissolve polar solutes, and nonpolar solvents dissolve nonpolar solutes. These two substances are chemically divergent and cannot absorb each other’s molecules.

What This Means For You:

What does all of this mean and what does it have to do with industrial hand cleaners you may ask? Well, the simple answer is that it has everything to do with industrial cleaners and why manufacturers have long since depended on the use of nonpolar solvents such as benzene and tetrachloroethylene to effectively remove heavy-duty contaminants such as oil and grease from hands. Such “organic” solvents, as considered by the general population, are excellent at breaking down and dissolving contaminants like oil in the cleaning solution, something that water cannot do well. However, use of these solvents over time has not been without consequence. Increasing concern over workers’ health, ozone depletion, air pollution, and safe disposal of such substances have ignited efforts to find alternatives to conventional cleaning solvents in the form of aqueous, or ‘nonsolvent’ cleaners.

Surfactants As An Alternative:

Aqueous Cleaners rely on a blend of ingredients designed to enhance the cleaning ability of water.  Known as surfactants, these additives may act as detergents, wetting agents, emulsifiers, foaming agents and dispersants, reducing the surface tension of a liquid in which it is dissolved.  Surfactants help water get “wetter” lifting dirt and oil away from the skin’s surface and surrounding it with water so that it can be washed away.  Traditionally, water-based detergents have been viewed as a less effective solution to their solvent-based counterparts, but the development of products such as Greven Active Force MP, MP-ECO, and Blue Wash are quickly putting this theory to the test. In addition to being safe for workers, these ‘nonsolvent’ cleaners are biodegradable, contain no crude odors, and perform as well, if not better, than their competition proving that indeed social responsibility and effectiveness can go hand in hand.

December 22, 2017 on 8:39 pm

New standards put forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are underway and will soon help provide better protection for workers exposed to crystalline silica in construction, maritime and general industry. Crystalline Silica, a common mineral identified in the earth’s crust, can be found in a variety of materials including concrete, sand, stone and mortar. When broken down into very small particles through cutting, sawing, sanding, grinding, or drilling, crystalline silica can pose a very serious health threat to workers who inhale this dust. As it is known, respirable crystalline silica puts workers who inhale these microscopic particles at an increased risk for developing serious silica-related diseases including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, kidney disease and silicosis, an incurable lung disease that may lead to disability or death. It is estimated that approximately 2.3 million people in the U.S. are exposed to silica at work. By reducing the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) to 50 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter of air, OSHA hopes to save over 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis each year. Averaged over an 8 hour day, the new PEL is half the previous limit for maritime and general industry and five times lower than the previous limit for construction. Under these new rules, the air employees breathe must be regularly sampled and analyzed to ensure that exposure levels do not exceed these limits. However, employers in the construction industry who are fully and properly implementing the engineering controls, work practices, and respiratory protections as specified by OSHA in Table 1  (a flexible compliance option for the construction industry), are not required to comply with the air sample measurement requirements as noted above.

In addition to the lower PEL levels and air sample provisions detailed in these new OSHA regulations, the new standards require both general industry and maritime employers to have a written exposure control plan in place as well as engineering and work practice control procedures.

Written Exposure Control Plans Must Include:

  • A description of the tasks that put workers at risk
  • A description of the engineering controls, work practices and respiratory protection used to limit exposure for each task
  • A description of the housekeeping methods used to limit exposure

In support of the delivery and compliance of these new regulations, OSHA has outlined the following engineering control and work practice recommendations for maintaining the designated PEL levels in affected work environments:

  • Implementing engineering controls and safe work practices: Effective engineering controls as described include wetting down work operations, process isolation, or using local exhaust ventilation (such as vacuums) to keep silica-containing dust out of the air and out of workers’ lungs. HEPA-filtered vacuuming is an example of a housekeeping method that minimizes employee exposure to respirable crystalline silica. These filters are at least 99.97% efficient in removing mono-dispersed particles of 0.3 micrometers in diameter. Respiratory protection may only be used when engineering controls are insufficient at reducing PEL levels.
  • Regulated Area Designation – Employers must designate high-exposure areas where PEL levels may be above the allowable limits.
  • Education and Training – Employees must be educated and trained on operational hazards  and proper work practices to minimize silica dust exposure.
  • Medical Examinations – Workers exposed to over 25 micrograms per cubic meter, for 30 days each year, must be provided medical surveillance to help identify adverse health effects associated with respirable crystalline silica exposure and take appropriate action when needed.

The roll-out of these new standards will occur over a 4 year time period which began on September 23, 2017 for operations in the construction industry. Subsequently, the following compliance dates should be noted and every effort should be made to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to comply with these regulations by the dates listed below.

Construction Industry: 

  • September 23, 2017: Employers are expected to comply with all obligations of the standard (except methods of sample analysis).
  • June 23, 2018: Employers are required to comply with methods of sample analysis.

For all operations in general industry and maritime, other than hydraulic fracturing operations in the oil and gas industry:

  • June 23, 2018: Employers are required to comply with all obligations of the standard, with the exception of the action level trigger for medical surveillance.
  • June 23, 2018: Employers are required to offer medical examinations to employees exposed above the PEL for 30 or more days a year.
  • June 23, 2020: Employers are required to offer medical examinations to employees exposed at or above the action level for 30 or more days a year.

For hydraulic fracturing operations in the oil and gas industry:

  • June 23, 2018: Employers are required to comply with all obligations of the standard, except for engineering controls and the action level trigger for medical surveillance.
  • June 23, 2018: Employers are required to offer medical examinations to employees exposed above the PEL for 30 or more days.
  • June 23, 2020: Employers are required to offer medical examinations to employees exposed at or above the action level for 30 or more days a year.
  • June 23, 2021: Employers are required to comply with requirements for engineering controls to limit exposures to the new PEL.
  • *June 23, 2018 – June 23, 2021*: Employers can continue to have employees wear respirators if their exposures exceed the PEL.

For additional resources and compliance assistance, please visit OSHA’s Crystalline Silica Rulemaking page. On-site consultation is available at no charge to small and mid-sized businesses interested in getting a jump-start on these standards.



October 17, 2017 on 8:37 pm

The National Association of Lubricating Grease Manufacturers, Inc. (NLGI) is a not-for-profit association composed of companies who primarily manufacture and market various types of lubricating grease. The objectives of the NLGI are to disseminate information that can lead to the development of better lubricating greases for the consumer and to provide better grease lubrication engineering service to the industry.

The NLGI consistency number expresses a measure of the relative hardness of a grease used for lubrication, but is only one factor in determining suitability of a grease to a specific application. The consistency of grease (its ability to resist deformation by an applied force)  is controlled by the thickener concentration, thickener type and the viscosity of the base oil.  NLGI’s classification defines nine grades, as shown below; each correlated to a range of ASTM worked penetration values, measured using two test apparatus. The first apparatus consists of a closed container and piston-like plunger that is perforated to allow grease to flow from one side to the other as the plunger is moved up and down.  The test grease, with a constant temperature of 25 degrees Celsius,  is inserted into the container and stroked 60 times before being moved to a penetration test apparatus. This apparatus consists of a container, specially configured cone and dial indicator that, once filled,  is smoothed over. With the cone’s tip touching the grease’s surface and the dial indicator set to zero, the test begins. Over a specified period of time, the weight of the cone will cause it to penetrate the grease, after which time, the depth of penetration is measured.

  • NLGI Grade 000 – Extremely Fluid (similar to cooking oil)/ Worked Penetration in Tenths of a Millimeter: 445-475
  • NLGI Grade 00 – Fluid (similar to applesauce)/Worked Penetration in Tenths of a Millimeter: 400-430
  • NLGI Grade 0 – Semi-Fluid (similar to brown mustard)/Worked Penetration in Tenths of a Millimeter: 355-385
  • NLGI Grade 1 – Very Soft (similar to tomato paste)/Worked Penetration in Tenths of a Millimeter: 310-340
  • NLGI Grade 2 – Moderately Soft (similar to peanut butter)/Worked Penetration in Tenths of a Millimeter: 265-295
  • NLGI Grade 3 – Semi- Solid (similar to vegetable shortening)/Worked Penetration in Tenths of a Millimeter: 220-250
  • NLGI Grade 4 – Medium-Solid (similar to frozen yogurt)/Worked Penetration in Tenths of a Millimeter: 175-205
  • NLGI Grade 5 – Hard (similar to a smooth pate)/Worked Penetration in Tenths of a Millimeter: 130-160
  • NLGI Grade 6 – Very Hard (similar to cheddar cheese)/Worked Penetration in Tenths of a Millimeter: 80-115

High consistency greases, as indicated by  higher NLGI numbers, are recommended for use in high ambient or operating temperatures when bleeds or leaks are of concern. These greases are firmer and tend to stay in place and may be used on high-speed ball/roller bearings, with low-viscosity base oil, or on low-speed journal bearings. Lubricants with a lower consistency, or NLGI number, are suggested for cold temperature operations on low-speed rolling element bearings, with high viscosity. A common mistake when selecting a grease is to confuse the grease consistency with the base oil viscosity. It’s important to remember that that both speed and load help determine the appropriate viscosity required for application. Even though base oil viscosity affects consistency, it is possible for a grease to have a high consistency and low base oil viscosity or vice versa.

Companies, such as Schaeffer Oil are helping make NLGI consistency identification simple through the use of color-coded caps on their high-temperature, waterproof, synthetic and high- pressure greases. Available in a variety of grades to suite the unique application requirements of its users,  Schaeffer Lubricants feature black, white, red, yellow and clear tops that correlate directly to NLGI consistency numbers. Understanding these differences and knowing which cap to look for, will help make choosing the right grease look easy.

NLGI #00 – Schaeffer Black Cap

NLGI #0 – Schaeffer White Cap

NLGI #1 – Schaeffer Red Cap

NLGI #2 – Schaeffer Yellow Cap

NLGI #3 – Schaeffer Clear Cap




June 12, 2017 on 4:01 pm

With global population growth expected to reach an estimated 9.7 billion by 2050, how worldwide food production may be augmented to meet the needs of an expanding international community continues to be a hot topic of discussion among agricultural field experts. The process of identifying alternative methods for plant production that are adequate and economically viable, without significantly raising public food costs, is an ongoing challenge for today’s farmers. To date, the use of pesticides has remained the predominant method for preserving and ensuring the evolution of the world’s food supply due to their overall effectiveness and affordability. However, despite the success of a wide range of pesticides that include insecticides, herbicides and fungicides, plants still exhibit many natural barriers that directly affect the retention, entry and transport of these substances. The main barrier to pesticide movement into the plant is a waxy layer, called the cuticle, which covers the entire plant surface and serves to prevent water loss. As a result, pesticides applied to the leaves of plants generally face greater obstacles than those applied to soil. In an effort to combat these barriers, specialized additives, referred to as surfactants, may be added to spray solutions to improve the emulsifying, spreading, sticking and absorbing properties of liquids. Pesticides formulated or applied with surfactants reduce surface tension within the external surface layers of water and allow for more effective movement of the pesticide through the cuticle.

Surfactants At Work:

Surfactants (aka: surface-active agents) can be classified into 4 primary classes including non-ionic, anionic, cationic and amphoteric that differ according to the electrical charge on the hydrophilic (“water-loving”) end of the molecule. As a general rule, non-ionic surfactants are the safest to use and the most versatile, accounting for nearly 50% of surfactant production. Due to their lack of an electrical charge, non-ionic surfactants can be used with any product because there are no positive or negative ions to react with the active chemical with which they are being mixed. By reducing the surface tension of the spray solution, surfactants flatten the water droplets, thus spreading the pesticide on the leaf surface. This allows more surface area for the chemical to come in contact with the leaf, allowing chemicals to saturate plant leaves instead of beading up and running off. Products such as Schaeffer Wet-Sol also help increase nutrient uptake in soil by increasing mass flow. Soil becomes hydrophobic and water repelling when organic coatings from decomposing matter such as roots and shoots build up on soil particles, causing water to repel from its surface. Such water run-off in the top inch of the soil profile can leave behind localized dry spots and result in the uneven penetration of water throughout the soil. Soil surfactants act as a bridge between the organic coatings and water to help aid in its penetration and retention, allowing for a more even distribution of water and nutrients.

Make The Most Of What You’ve Got:

Variations in plant species such as wax content and composition, leaf arrangement and architecture, and plant hairs, are among the various features that can affect the overall performance of surfactants. To optimize the performance benefits of these specialized additives, surfactant solubility should complement the solubility characteristics of the selected pesticide. In other words, both the surfactant and pesticide should be oil-soluble or water-soluble. Additionally, environmental conditions should not be overlooked, as plant cuticles are generally thicker and harder to penetrate under low humidity conditions while thin, relatively permeable cuticles are favored by high humidity and high moisture conditions.

Reap What You Sow:

Without a doubt, the science of surfactant technology has increased the effectiveness of pesticides. However, caution must be taken to ensure that the proper surfactants are selected, as damage to plants can occur when not utilized properly. Be sure to read labels carefully. When applied at too high a rate, there is an increased risk of toxicity to the plant’s leaves and roots as well as potential membrane permeability damage. When used as directed, however, non-ionic surfactants provide a safe, stable and highly effective solution for farmers seeking to meet the nutritional demands of an ever-growing population.