Surfactants are compounds that lower the surface tension of a liquid, allowing easier spreading, and lowering of the interfacial tension between two liquids, or between a liquid and a solid. Surfactants may act as: detergents, wetting agents, emulsifiers, foaming agents, and dispersants.
Many surfactants can also assemble in the bulk solution into aggregates. They also reduce the interfacial tension between oil and water by adsorbing at the liquid-liquid interface. Examples of such aggregates are vesicles and micelles.PROPERTIES Surfactants reduce the surface tension of water by adsorbing at the liquid-gas interface.
CLASSIFICATION On the basis of their hydrophylic or solubilizing groups present in the molecule the surfactants are classified into four types : ANIONIC SURFACTANTS CATIONIC SURFACTANTS NONIONIC SURFACTANTS AMPHOLYTICS SURFACTANTS
g Na or K-alkyl phosphates.g.
. Olefins sulphonates etc. Carboxylates e. Soaps & Amino carboxylates. These are best for water absorbing fibres such as cotton. & silk.ANIONIC SURFACTANTS The hydrophilic group in anionic surfactant is polar & negatively charged in aqueous solutions or dispersions. Sulphonates e. Phosphate esters e. Petroleum sulphonates. wool. alkyl benzene sulphonates (ABS).g. ethylene oxide adduct sulphates. Dialkyl sulphonates. Example: Sulphates & sulphated products e.g. fatty alcohol sulphates. linear alkyl benzene sulphonates (LAS).
. linear alkyl benzene sulphonates (LAS). Dialkyl sulphonates. Olefins sulphonates etc.Example: Sulphates & sulphated products e. alkyl benzene sulphonates (ABS). Carboxylates e.g Na or K-alkyl phosphates.g. Soaps & Amino carboxylates. Petroleum sulphonates. ethylene oxide adduct sulphates. Phosphate esters e.g. fatty alcohol sulphates.
These are also used as softners for textiles & paper. & quaternary ammonium compounds.CATIONIC SURFACTANTS These include amines salts. These acts as wetting agents rather than detergents.
. These can also be used as antibacterial algicides agents. The amino group or quaternary nitrogens bears a positive charges when dissolved in aqueous medium.
EXAMPLES Amines containing oxygen amide oxides. Amines not containing oxygen (aliphatic mono. alkylamines. di. & polyamines & resin derived amines) Amines having amide linkage & quaternary ammonium salts. poly oxyethylene.
Hydroxyl groups & ether linkages are the strongest hydrophilic groups in non-ionic surfactants. They are also more effective for removing body oils. The hydrophilic tendency in a non-ionic surfactants is due to presence bonding with water molecules. Non-ionic surfactants are more effective than anionic surfactants in removing soil at the lower temperatures necessarily for laundering synthetic fibres.
.NONIONIC SURFACTANTS These sufractants bear no charge when dissolved or dispersed in aqueous medium.
ethoxylated alkyl phenols & aliphatic alcohols etc.EXAMPLES Ethylene oxide adducts e. Carboxyic esters & amides.
. Polymeric nonionics.g. polyoxy ethylene surfactants. Alkylol-amides & sorbital compounds.
AMPHOTYLIC SURFACTANTS These surfactants contain both cationic & anionic groups. shampoos.
. emulsifying & wetting agents. These can behave as anionic or cationic according to whether the solutions is in the basic or acidic pH range. These are used in cosmetics. water emulsions paints & a corrosion inhibitors.
.-amino propionic esters.EXAMPLES N-fatty. Sodium lauroyl-sarcosinate is used in tooth paste composition.