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Optical Brighteners

Philowhite® Overview

PHILODEN Industries offers high-molecular brighteners, which find its use in Thermoplastics, Printing Inks, Lacquers and Man-made Fibers.

Optical brighteners typically work by reducing the yellowness and improving whiteness. Doing so, they help to enhance the overall brightness of any products.

PHILOWHITE OB and OB-1 are products which due to their excellent brightening ability, can be used in a wide range of polymers or any articles made of it.

These two grades, based on similar chemistries and molecular weight, just differ by their melting point and weight-loss. Regarding coloristic and polymer suitability, they are exchangeable.


 The Product

The effect of an optical brightener is based on the fact, that the molecules are able to absorb energy transported by electromagnetic waves in the UV-range. Absorbing this energy (absorption maximum around 375nm) the molecules shift to an exciting state.

Falling back into the idle state, this previously absorbed energy is then released again in form of electromagnetic waves but this time, with wavelengths above the UV-range as blue light.

This mechanism of remitting blue light, increases the overall remission of the reflected spectrum with a typical peak in the lower end of the visible range. It adds a significant amount of blue light to the reflection spectrum which causes the desired clean appearance which is often called ‘whiter-than-white’ by masking the yellowness.

Our PHILOWHITE is an indispensable additive for a variety of applications. Both grades offer particular value when recycled thermoplastic polymers are processed.

Key Features

  • High Efficiency due to excellent Solubility in molten polymer
  • Good Heat Stability; no Influence on Processing Properties
  • High Resistance to Chemicals
  • Adds brightening effect to colored and colorless polymer
  • Good Solubility in organic Solvents for Lacquers and Coatings

Technical Performance

Optical Brighteners show the desired effect as long as UV-light is present which delivers the energy needed for the method of action. Without UV-Radiation, the mechanism will not work.

Besides the intensity of the UV-radiation, there are three other factors which influence the efficiency of an optical brightener -. the initial color of the polymer (uncolored or solution dyed) itself, the presence of any matting agents and finally the loading of OB.

In determining the optimum concentration of OB. the effect of any other UV-absorbing component of the final formulation in the specific plastic material has to be considered.

In combinations with matting agents like TiO2 or BaSO4, brilliant white shades can be achieved, but such combinations require higher levels of optical brighteners.

On the contrary, the addition of UV-Absorbers can significantly reduce or even nullify the desired effect.

Optical brighteners are suitable for a wide selection of polymers; not just EPL’s but also for polyolefin.

Typical concentrations for optical brightener can range from as low as 5ppm up to about 1000ppm depending on polymer used, its application and the targeted effect.

In order to develop the desired effect, OB’s have to be dissolved in the polymer matrix. Since the addition levels are quite low and in order to make handling cleaner, they are normally prepared and added as master batch. This is usually achieved by extrusion under the processing conditions required for the carrier material.


Product Use

In plastics, today, the main application is related to production of polyesters/polyamides or for the recycling process of used Beverage Bottles or Carpets.

During polymerization, yellowness can be caused by too extensive heat stress or residue of catalysts. The same undesired effect can happen during multiple extrusion of polymer flakes during the recycling process. In both cases, the addition of OB can help to overtone the yellowing.

In color formulations, the addition of OB’s can boost the color and increase the overall visibility.