Formulation Components & Their Functionality

Creating an ideal formulation isn’t easy.

You have to be familiar with the base components and their chemistry, their functionalities, and how they all must work together to achieve the end product’s desired performance.

It’s best to be equipped with the knowledge and experience to get the formulation right the first time. Otherwise, you may be left with an end product that’s unstable or doesn’t perform as desired.

Here’s a look at the primary components of a formulation, each component’s function, and how a contract development and manufacturing company such as CJB Applied Technologies can help deliver the best outcome from the beginning.

What Are the Formulation Components & Their Functions?

A formulation can be created from numerous components such as active ingredients, rheological agents, functional agents, antimicrobial agents, propylene glycols, and diluents.

Active Ingredient

The active ingredient is the key functionality of the formulation. This could be a herbicide, fungicide, insecticide, etc. The active ingredient performs the main function of what the end-product is supposed to do.

Rheological Agents

Rheological agents are used to make formulations thicker or thinner. These agents create viscosity to improve stability, dispensability, and functionality. They provide a crucial fundamental of a formulation: structure.

Functional Agents

Functional agents can include stickers, spreaders, penetrants, and wetters. You may need an agent to help the end product stick to or spread across a target. An agent could be required to help the end product penetrate the target’s surface or delay drying time. These agents help the formulation carry out these duties.

Antimicrobial Agents

Antimicrobial agents may be used to extend the end product’s shelf life. For example, if there’s bacterial contamination in the end product, the formulation could spoil. Antimicrobial agents limit or prevent the degradation of the end product.

Anti-freeze agents

Propylene glycol and similar agents may keep the end product from freezing. It helps a liquid combat adverse temperatures. Propylene glycol can help lower the freezing point below 32°F, which is vital for farmers who live in cold climates and store agricultural products through winter.

Surfactants and Dispersants

Surfactants and dispersants are necessary to improve the stability of products and to achieve acceptable mixing with water. Over one thousand different surfactants and dispersions are available, and the right combination is critical for a high-quality product.


Diluents are inert ingredients that are used to adjust quantities and balance in a formulation. They occupy space without modifying other characteristics. Diluents can reduce costs and improve the properties of a formulation.

How Do These Components Work Together in a Formulation?

Many companies make these different components, and no two are alike. To come up with the best end product, you have to test your formulation with several different agents to see how it performs.

To have a successful formulation, your components cannot be antagonistic toward each other. They have to be chemically stable and compatible as well as readily available and affordable and approved by regulatory agencies. In the lab, a formulation chemist can evaluate all of the intricacies of these components—based on their expertise and experience—to create your optimal product.

A formulation chemist is already familiar with the chemistry portfolios of various manufacturers. They know how to examine the end product’s characteristics and the active ingredient’s behavior. They understand the target pest and the best way to attack it. They’re skilled at creating numerous candidate formulations, performing tests and trials, and narrowing down the options until they find the best choice.

The ultimate goal in creating a formulation is to have a high-functioning end product that effectively controls the target pest and affordably satisfies the user’s needs. The end product must be stable, easy to handle, perform as expected, and last more than two years on the shelf.

Different Formulation Components

The Functionality of Formulation Components

Now you know some of the components that are necessary to create a formulation, the different functions each one provides, and how CJB Applied Technologies’ formulation experts can help provide the perfect solution for a customer’s formulated product.

Formulations are complicated. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could make some costly mistakes along the way. Our chemists have decades of experience and a wealth of expertise to help get your ideal end product made faster and more affordably.

With services such as contract development, scale-up/pilot plant production, and consulting/product recovery, CJB Applied Technologies can turn your ideas into real-life products quickly.

Contact us about your formulation idea today!