A detergent is a surfactant or a mixture of surfactants with “cleaning properties in dilute solutions.” Because of their chemical makeup, the surfactants used in detergents can be engineered to perform well under a variety of conditions. Such surfactants are less sensitive than soap to the hardness minerals in water and most will not form a film.
Personal care surfactants are major components in shampoo, hair conditioner, body wash and skin-cleansing products. Natural raw materials are the future development for green and environment-friendly surfactant to reduce the incentive for human.
The food industry also comprises one of the largest end users for surfactants but the kind and quantity of surfactants that can be used are limited by considerations of contamination and potential toxicity. They are mainly used as emulsifiers, thickeners, stabilizers, antioxidants and others.
Surfactant is an important component of paper-making chemicals, which has vital effects on the entire process of paper-making, including pulping, wet-end, surface sizing and coating process, etc. With the development of paper making industry, new series of surfactant products will be produced to meet the demands of the market.
Surfactants are used throughout the petroleum industry. A large potential market exists for surfactants in enhanced oil recovery, but many technical and economic problems remain to be solved. However, it would seem, as we enter the last decades of the “petroleum age,” that enough of those technical problems will be solved and that the oil we leave behind will become valuable enough to allow some methods of enhanced oil recover.
Surfactants are adjuvants that reduce surface tension within the external surface layers of water, at present surfactants are not only used in herbicides, but also for all dosage forms. The most common surfactants for agricultural use are nonionic and anionic.
Surfactants affect a wide array of physical properties in paints. Surfactants affect the behavior of paint not only during the lifetime of the formed coating but also the initial aggregation and film formation of the paint. Surfactants are also used to stabilize the dispersion of polymer particles during emulsion polymerization in paints and other applications.
Surface active agents have been applied in every working process of leather production, which is one of the main auxiliary of leather processing technology. Main applications are wetting and penetration, emulsification, decentralization, increasing solubility and foam, decontamination, evening dye and antiseptic effect, promoting and improving the effection of all the physics and chemistry in each process, which can shorten the production cycle and save chemical raw materials and improve the quality of the finished product.