Solvents in everyday life
Solvents play a key role in enhancing the performance of exterior paints – dissolving the paint ingredients and making it easier to apply in order to provide a tough, durable coating that lasts for years.
And in parts of the world where homes are built from timber, solvents are also used to safeguard their structural integrity. Modern, efficient methods for preserving construction timber use an environmentally-friendly process where the softwood is vacuum treated with a solvent-based solution containing fungicide and insecticide.
Whether working outside, taking a holiday, or just enjoying the outdoors, people are increasingly aware of the importance of protecting their skin. The performance of modern skin and sun creams owes a lot to chemicals.
NEODOL alcohols are added to skin creams to increase their ability to disperse other components easily, allowing active ingredients to provide the necessary protection and delivering desirable aesthetic effects such as softening the skin.
In fact, NEODOL grades are used across a range of personal care products, including shampoos and conditioners, liquid soaps and shower gels, where they help to deliver active ingredients or enhance cleansing with a richer, thicker lather.
The role of chemicals is just as important for keeping our homes warm and comfortable. With rising energy costs and the threat of climate change, the energy efficiency of houses has never been more important, and effective insulation has become a priority for modern building design and construction.
The walls, roofs and floors of many homes are insulated with lightweight polystyrene foam panels.
As standards of living rise across the world, more and more people are experiencing the comfort of a polyurethane foam mattress for the first time.
Washing hair ethylene in shower gels and shampoos
As disposable income grows in developing economies, demand for modern hardwearing garments made from synthetic textiles such as polyester has risen steeply.
Polyester can be used to produce a range of textiles including ‘wool-like’ and ‘silk-like’ fabrics and one of its main raw materials is the chemical monoethylene glycol, or MEG.
While the benefits of chemicals are evident all around us, Shell continues to develop and improve the efficiency and sustainability of the process technologies behind these vital ingredients of modern life.