What is Surfactant?

What is Surfactant?

2022-06-13 16:36:15  News

What is Surfactant?

Surfactant, also called surface-active agent, is a substance, such as a detergent, which, when added to a liquid, reduces the surface tension and thereby improves the spreadability and wettability of a surfactant. In dyeing textiles, surfactants help the dye to permeate the fabric evenly. They are used to disperse water-based suspensions of insoluble dyes and spices.

Surface active molecules must be partially hydrophilic (water-soluble) and partially lipophilic (soluble in lipids or oils). It concentrates on the interface between the water body or droplet and the oil body or liposome and acts as an emulsifier or foaming agent.

Other surfactants that are more oleophilic and less hydrophilic can be used as defoaming agents or demulsifiers. Some surfactants are fungicides, fungicides, and insecticides.

Surfactants are used for corrosion inhibition, ore flotation, facilitating the flow of oil in porous rocks, and generating aerosols.


What is a surfactant used for? 

The surface-active agent in many practical applications and products such as detergents, wetting agents, dispersing agents, emulsifiers, foaming agents, and defoaming agents plays an important role, including detergent, fabric softener, soap, paint, oil, emulsion, adhesives, printing ink, wax antifogging, skiing, snowboarding, wax, recycled paper deinking, flotation, washing, and enzymatic process as well as a laxative. Agricultural chemicals are also used, such as herbicides (some), insecticides, biocides (disinfectants), and spermicides (nonoxynol-9). Personal care products such as cosmetics, shampoo, body wash, conditioner, and toothpaste. Surfactants are used in fire fighting and piping (liquid drag reducers). Basic surfactant polymers are used to make oil flow in Wells.


What are common types of surfactants? 

The hydrophilic head of each surfactant is charged. The charge can be negative, positive, or neutral. Surfactants are classified as anionic, nonionic, cationic, or amphoteric based on the charge of the hydrophilic head. 


Anionic surfactant 

Anionic surfactants have a negative charge at their hydrophilic end. A negative charge helps surfactant molecules lift and suspend dirt in micelles. Because of their ability to erode a wide range of dirt, anionic surfactants are often used in soaps and detergents. Anionic surfactants produce large amounts of foam when mixed. While anionic surfactants are great for lifting and suspending granular dirt, they are not as good at emulsifying oily dirt. 

Sulfates, sulfonates, and gluconates are examples of anionic surfactants.


Nonionic surfactant 

Nonionic surfactants are neutral and do not have any charge at their hydrophilic ends.  Non-ionic surfactants are very good at emulsifying oil and are superior to anionic surfactants in removing organic dirt. Both are often used together to create dual-action, multi-purpose cleaners that not only lift and suspend granular dirt but also emulsify oily dirt. 

Some non-ionic surfactants can be non-foaming or low foaming. This makes them ideal as an ingredient in low-foam detergents. 

Nonionic surfactants have a unique property called turbidity points. Turbidity point The temperature at which the nonionic surfactant begins to separate from the cleaning solution is called phase separation. When this happens, the cleaning solution becomes cloudy.  This is considered the optimum temperature for detergency. For low foam detergent, the best detergency is at the turbidity point; For foam cleaners, the best detergency is either just below the cloud point or at the beginning of the cloud point. The stirring of the low-foaming detergent is sufficient to prevent phase separation. 

The turbidity point temperature depends on the ratio of hydrophobic to hydrophilic parts of the nonionic surfactant. Some are at room temperature, while others are very high. Some non-ionic surfactants do not have turbidity points because they have a very high ratio of hydrophilic to hydrophobic parts. 

Some common examples of nonionic surfactants include cotinamide, ethoxylates, and alkoxylates.


Cationic surfactant 

Cationic surfactants have a positive charge at their hydrophilic end. A positive charge makes them useful in antistatic products such as fabric softeners. Cationic surfactants also act as antibacterial agents and are therefore commonly used in disinfectants. 

Cationic surfactants cannot be used with anionic surfactants. If positively charged cationic surfactants are mixed with negatively charged anionic surfactants, they fall out of the solution and are no longer effective. However, cationic and non-ionic surfactants are compatible.

Some common examples of cationic surfactants include alkyl ammonium chloride. 


Amphoteric surfactant 

Amphoteric surfactants have double charges at their hydrophilic ends, both positive and negative. The double charges cancel each other out, producing a zero net charge, called a zwitterion. The pH of any given solution will determine how the amphoteric surfactant will react. In acidic solutions, amphoteric surfactants are positively charged and behave like cationic surfactants. In alkaline solutions, they generate negative charges, similar to anionic surfactants.

Amphoteric surfactants are commonly used in personal care products, such as shampoos and cosmetics. Some examples of commonly used amphoteric surfactants are betaine and amine oxides.


Surfactant Price

The price is influenced by many factors including the supply and demand in the market, industry trends, economic activity, market sentiment, and unexpected events.

If you are looking for the latest surfactant price, you can send us your inquiry for a quote. (sales1@rboschco.com)


Surfactant Supplier

RBOSCHCO is a trusted global chemical material supplier & manufacturer with over 12-year-experience in providing super high-quality chemicals and nanomaterials. The company export to many countries including the USA, Canada, Europe, UAE, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Turkey, Mexico, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Brazil, Chile, Dubai, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, etc.

As a leading nanotechnology development manufacturer, RBOSCHCO dominates the market. Our professional work team provides perfect solutions to help improve the efficiency of various industries, create value, and easily cope with various challenges.


If you are looking for surfactants, please send an email. (sales1@rboschco.com)


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