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Anionic surfactants - for many industries
Anionic surfactants are surface-active substances such as fatty alcohol ether sulfates, olefin sulfonates, fatty acid derivatives, or phosphoric acid esters, which contain a negatively charged functional group and are thus present in water as an anion. It is distinguished between anionic, cationic and non-ionic surfactants. Anionic surfactants are widely used within the detergent and cleaning industry as well as other industries.
Anionic surfactants are surface-active substances such as fatty alcohol ether sulfates, olefin sulfonates, fatty acid derivatives, or phosphoric acid esters, which contain a negatively charged functional group and are thus present in water as an anion.
Good to know: Some surfactants are poorly broken down by microorganisms in water. Mountains of foam therefore covered large areas of the water bodies until 1961, when the Detergents Act only permitted surfactants that were at least 80% biodegradable.
Anionic surfactants are substances that reduce the surface tension of a liquid or the interfacial tension between two phases and enable or support the formation of dispersions. They ensure that two liquids that are immiscible, such as oil and water, can be finely mixed. Most of them are wash-active.
Products based on anionic surfactants find a very wide application in the detergent and cleaning agent industry. In the paints and coatings sector, anionic surfactants are used as emulsifiers and dispersants, and in metalworking, as an emulsifier and corrosion inhibitor. In construction, these groups of substances are mainly used as wetting agent, dispersant and air-entraining agent.
In terms of quantity, anionic surfactants represent the most important group of surfactants. They foam strongly, have the highest washing power, and are therefore primarily used for detergents. Additionally, when used in detergents they ensure that greasy dirt dissolves in water. They can also be found in cleaning and dishwashing detergents as well as in skin cleaning and body-care products/shampoos.