Products | Application of Ashland cellulose ethers in the ink industry

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Introduction to Ashland Corporation

Ashland is a world-leading additives and specialty products company that actively practices the concept of sustainable development. Ashland is the leader in the global cellulose ether production market, with production bases in China, the Netherlands and the United States, serving many Personal & Industrial Consumer Products provides high-quality, trusted products in coatings, personal care, oil and gas, building and construction, pharmaceuticals, printing inks and more. 

cellulose ether

Cellulose ethers are water-soluble polymers made from cellulose, the main component of primary cell walls in green plants and the most common natural polymer on Earth.

Cellulose ether classification:

1. Hydroxyethyl cellulose ether HEC: It is a nonionic cellulose ether that can be dissolved in water to form a transparent viscous solution. The dissolution is not affected by the pH value and has good color development and compatibility.

2. Hydroxypropyl cellulose ether HPC: It is a nonionic water-soluble cellulose ether. Unlike HEC, HPC is not only soluble in water, but also soluble in polar organic solvents such as methanol, ethanol, and isopropyl alcohol. Low molecular weight specifications are mainly used as adhesives, while high molecular weight specifications are used to prepare hydrophilic gel matrix sheets.

3. Ethyl cellulose ether EC: It is a non-ionic cellulose ether that is insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents. Because of its water insolubility, ethyl cellulose is mainly used as tablet adhesive and film coating material.

4. Carboxymethyl cellulose ether CMC: poor biological stability, poor water resistance, no hydration treatment, and difficult to dissolve.

Natrosol HEC Thickener

Natrosol HEC is a natural product and an excellent thickener with excellent biological stability against the attack of mold in solutions. It can provide good consistency in water-based inks, reduce splash effects, have good color development and compatibility, and can provide good dispersion and stability for various substances in the ink. HEC can provide good pseudoplasticity in water-based inks and has broad compatibility with pigments, emulsions, surfactants, emulsifiers and defoaming agents.

HEC thickening mechanism: High thickening efficiency is ensured through hydrogen bonding and main chain entanglement.

HEC has a range of products in different viscosity ranges


Application direction:

1. Water-based gravure ink

HEC has a high thickening efficiency for the water phase. The system can absorb a large amount of water without affecting the printing performance. It has excellent compatibility and is easy to add. It is mainly used in film substrates, decorative papers, etc. The main models are 250HBR, 250HHBR, and 250MHBR.

2. Water-based color paste

HEC has high thickening efficiency in water-based color pastes, excellent compatibility, good dispersion and stability, and is available in 250HBR, 250MHBR, 250HR and other models.

3. Water-based screen printing ink

Glass glaze, mainly used on solar white backplane glass, also known as glass ink, mainly uses hydroxypropyl cellulose, which has better solubility and stability.


Question: How to add hydroxyethyl cellulose using process?

Answer: It can be added during the grinding or high-speed dispersion and adjustment stages. Adding it directly during the grinding or high-speed dispersion stage can appropriately increase the viscosity of the grinding base material and improve the grinding efficiency. In the adjustment stage, it is recommended to add it in the form of an aqueous solution. The aqueous solution generally has a concentration of 2-3%. Generally, hydroxyethyl cellulose should be slowly added to water under constant stirring. After stirring for 3 to 5 minutes, alkali products such as pH adjusters should be added to help the cellulose fully dissolve.


Q: What are the differences between different product models of hydroxyethyl cellulose? Which models do you recommend?

Answer: The main difference between different models is the viscosity. We mainly recommend 250HBR and 250HHBR. Since the molecular weight and viscosity are the largest, the viscosity and molecular weight of 250HHBR are higher, and the thickening effect is better.