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Surfactants as Detergents and Emulsifiers

Surface active agent, in short known as surfactant is a kind of chemical compound that is used to minimize the surface tension between the two different substances. Actually what is surface tension. Surface tension is the property of a liquid that allows it to resist any external force. For this property of surfactants they are used in several industrial applications.

Surfactants as Detergents and Emulsifiers

The most common application of a surfactant is in the form of a detergent. Detergent is a kind of surface active agent that possesses the cleaning properties and has the ability to remove dirt from the surfaces. Various forms of surfactants available today are employed as detergents or different cleaning requirements in industries. 

Another popular form in which surfactants are employed in industries is an emulsifier, also referred most of the times as emulsifying agent. Surfactants are used as emulsifying products in industries for better mixing of the products. As an emulsifying agent, it has the capability to disperse one liquid into the other, which usually does not mix well with the former.

Apart from cleaning and emulsifying, surfactants are used in various other applications too. Surfactants for industrial applications are employed as wetting agents, dispersing agents, foaming and anti-foaming agents in various applications like detergents, fabric softeners, adhesives, emulsions, paints, inks etc.

Types of Surfactants

The surfactants are broadly classified into two categories – ionic and non-ionic surfactants. Ionic surfactants are those which have an organic tail with charged head either positive or negative. Those with the positive charge on the head are called the cationic surfactants and those with negative charge are usually referred as anionic surfactants. There are even those which are not charged at all. Such kinds of surface active agents are known as non-ionic surfactants.

Non-Ionic Surfactants - Ethoxylates

The non-ionic surfactants are synthesized artificially for industrial processes by ethoxylation, the method in which ethylene oxide is made to react with fatty acids, alcohols and phenols to give ethoxylate surfactants. Some of the common examples of ethoxylate surfactant products include fatty alcohol ethoxylates, fatty acid ethoxylates, fatty amine ethoxylates and much more. These non-ionic surfactants have valuable benefits and are employed in applications like textile finishing and washing processes, household and industrial scouring, preparation of insecticides in agriculture and as lubricants and as a coating agents in automotive and aviation industry. Visit http://www.rimpro-india.com/fatty-acid-ethoxylate/application.html to know about fatty acid ethoxylates ussed in industrial processes.


Therefore the surfactants can serve various applications and are quite important products for the industrial applications.

This article educates readers about surfactants and different uses of surfactants and types of surfactants.

This article has been written by Govindbhai Mathurdas Patel.