Pigments are usually milled down in an aqueous slurry, then dried to give a fine powder. One pigment in particular agglomerated into one giant brick when dried. My task was to find an additive to prevent the agglomeration.
I systematically tried every type of dispersant known; anionic, cationic, non-ionic, amphoteric, hydrocarbon, fluorocarbon. Nothing worked. Then, two months later, I heard of a new surfactant from Dow Corning. It was not yet on the market but I managed to get a sample of a pre-production batch. I tried it on the old problem that I had failed to solve before.
The additive worked wonderfully. There was no agglomeration whatsoever. I checked that Dow Corning would produce the additive commercially, got pricing and we started using it in full-scale production.
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