The Chemical Makeup of Traffic Film Removers

The Chemical Makeup of Traffic Film Removers

Car owners everywhere take pride in the appearance of their vehicles, and this involves ensuring that their car’s surface isn’t contaminated by nasties. Traffic film remover plays a big role in maintaining this appearance, as they’re specialized cleaning agents that are designed to rid vehicle surfaces of grime. This grime that accumulates on the surface of vehicles is otherwise known as traffic film, and the chemical makeup of traffic film remover is explored in further detail below.

Understanding Traffic Film

Ahead of delving into how traffic film remover is made, let’s first address what traffic film is. Traffic film is the layer of grime that forms on the surface of vehicles, and it consists of a mixture of pollutants like road tar, brake dust, oil residue, dirt, and other particles. With time, the film only becomes more stubborn, meaning regular cleaning agents simply won’t do the job of removing them.

The Role of Surfactants

Surfactants are the chemicals that make traffic film removers so effective. As suggested by the name, these are surface-active agents that work to loosen the surface tension of liquids. Therefore, surfactants allow liquids to spread across the surface with ease and penetrate grime more effectively. With a hydrophilic head and hydrophobic tail, surfactants boast a unique structure, which gives them the capability to emulsify oils and suspend dirt particles. This assists with the removal of traffic film.

Quite simply, the surfactants in traffic film removers work to break down greasy and oily components, which means they can be rinsed away with ease. Nonionic, anionic, and cationic surfactants are just some of the most common ones to be found in traffic film removers, and these are responsible for their unique cleaning properties.

The Power of Alkaline Agents

Next to surfactants, alkaline agents play a crucial role in traffic film removers. Substances such as these typically have strong bases, including sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide. This is because they work to break down organic materials and saponify fats and oils. Since these agents are so packed full of alkaline substances, they’re especially effective when it comes to dissolving the sticky and oily residue that’s typical of traffic film.

Alkaline agents break down molecular bonds in organic compounds, and this means that they’re essentially liquified and dispersed. Not only does this bring ease to the process of rinsing away grime, but it also means that stubborn residues don’t cling to the vehicle’s surface as aggressively.

Chelating Agents and Sequestrants

With surfactants and alkaline agents also come chelating agents and sequestrants. Road grime typically contains metal ions, and chelating agents and sequestrants bind to these to remove them. This binding process helps to keep metal ions from interfering with the cleaning process, which results in a more thorough and effective removal of traffic film.

EDTA is one of the most common chelating agents, in addition to citric acid. With these agents, the effects of hard water and other contaminants can also be neutralized.

The Importance of pH Balance

The pH balance also plays a significant role in determining how effective traffic film remover will be. As previously mentioned, the vast majority of traffic film removers are formulated to be alkaline. For this reason, the pH needs to be properly balanced to ensure that it’s not too harsh on the vehicle’s paint or other sensitive surfaces.

Typically speaking, manufacturers include pH buffers in their formulations, and these work to maintain an optimal pH range. This optimal range is strong enough to penetrate grime but not so strong that the bodywork is left damaged. Ultimately, the chemical makeup of traffic film removers requires a delicate balance.