AbstractLaboratory-scale agglomeration experiments followed by image analysis were used to evaluate the effectiveness of different cationic surfactants on the 1-octadecanol agglomeration of a negatively charged laser toner. Various types of surfactants with different geometric structures were investigated. It was found that this toner became agglomerated under neutral pulping conditions, but it did not agglomerate under alkaline conditions at all. A small amount of the cationic surfactant compensated for the agglomeration disruption caused by the negative surface charge of the toner and made this toner agglomerate very well. These cationic surfactants consist of a chemical structure of C12 to C18 saturated alkyl hydrophobic chains. The positive charge of these surfactants played the major role in alleviating agglomeration disruption. Additionally, an extra phenol group on these surfactants contributed only minor advantages for toner agglomeration in the presence of 1-octadecanol. The best co-agglomeration performance occurred within a very narrow range of similar total positive charge densities based on the total toner weight. It was also found that this positive charge effect could not be applied to the chemical compounds of high molecular weight polymeric materials.