The largest industrial use for alkylphenol is in the manufacture of nonionic surfactants. These ethoxylated alkylphenol surfactants have good chemical stability and excellent wetting, emulsifying and detergent properties.
Nonylphenol is reacted with phosphorus trichloride to produce trisnonylphenyl phosphite (TNPP), a common antioxidant for a wide range of polymer systems.
Nonylphenol reacts with aldehydes to yield phenolic resins. When used with other phenols, even in small quantities, it makes the phenolic resins more water resistant, more soluble in oil, and improves electrical properties.
Nonylphenol sulfide has been used as a reclaiming agent for synthetic rubber.
A variety of alkylphenol derivatives have uses as polyvinyl chloride plasticizer intermediates. These intermediates include nonylphenol benzoate, nonylphenol alkanesulfonates and nonylcyclohexanol.
Nonylphenol can be used in an epoxy resin hardener.
Other applications for alkylphenols include pharmaceuticals, corrosion inhibitors, dyestuffs, ore flotation agents, insecticides, bactericides, chemical stabilizers, and the leather industry. Overbased calcium salt of nonylphenol can be used as a dispersant in hydraulic fluid and motor oil.
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