At R&B Research we have carried out a range of studies aimed at improving or developing systems in which a variety of solid active ingredients have been formulated as stable dispersions or suspension concentrates. The nature of the active ingredients studied have varied considerably and include:
- Biological systems where better dispersion and suspension of a bacterial culture was required for optimum biological efficacy and product stability.
- Systems in which a blend of natural clays were suspended and dispersed in a ‘soup’ of micronutrients. In these systems the clay acts both as a source of nutrient and as a means of preventing crystal formation and sedimentation of other inorganic nutrients.
- Feed systems based on very high loadings of water insoluble inorganic compounds where the suspension properties of the concentrate and dispersion properties of the dilution are paramount for good performance in the field. These systems need to remain effective when tank mixed with a variety of other materials such as fungicides or herbicides and this requires careful selection and manipulation of the surfactant system to avoid potential incompatibility issues.
A number of techniques are employed by our team of scientists in the development stages of these types of system and these would include:
- Sophisticated rheological studies to optimise flow properties and suspension of solid particles.
- Use of Drop Shape Analysis techniques to study and elucidate effectiveness of surfactants used as wetting agents or dispersants
- Standard suspensibility tests in ASTM sedimentation tubes linked with centrifugation techniques and microscopy.
- Analytical techniques to look at phase stability of the systems.