Almost all detergents used in everyday life to remove dirt from surfaces of any type, as well as for washing clothes, contain surfactants - surfactants.
What is it, what varieties are there, how effective are they in processing objects and how do they affect a person - the answers are in the proposed article.
What it is?
Surfactants are chemicals contained in almost all household chemicals used for washing dishes, washing things and treating surfaces of household items. Without their addition to detergents, the latter lose their ability to effectively clean, wash and wash.
Water molecules, even very hot ones, do not bind to fat molecules, therefore they do not wash them off completely. It is for this purpose that surfactants are used, which provide the connection of water molecules with particles of fat.
Surfactant molecules are a bipolar sphere. One of them - lipophilic comes into contact with fats. The second - hydrophilic is attached to the water molecule. As a result of this two-sided attachment of water and grease (or other types of contaminants), the surfaces are effectively cleaned.
Inorganic surfactants are used as one of the components of most detergents. Unlike organic surfactants, which are considered to be absolutely safe, inorganic surfactants affect the human body to varying degrees. It directly depends on their type: Anionic. A-Pav are the most effective and highly soluble substances. They foam well and cope well with any kind of pollution.
Means with anionic components are characterized by low cost. A significant minus - allergenic. They have a high level of aggressiveness towards the human body. Cationic. Preparations with cationic substances are significantly inferior in efficiency to anionic agents. They have a low level of washing power. However, there is a significant plus - bactericidal action. Non-ionic. Detergents with this type of surfactant have a gentle effect on the treated objects and the skin of the hands. Their exceptionally high level of biodegradability equal to 100% positively characterizes them. This is the safest type of substance. The disadvantage is that they do not foam well, therefore they are often used in tandem with anionic substances.
Plus - perfectly washed off the treated surface. These components are part of children's detergents. Ampholytic. This type of surfactant, depending on the acidity or alkalinity of the main composition of the detergent, exhibits properties characteristic of cationic or anionic surfactants. Bio-surfactant. These particles are characterized by absolute environmental safety. These substances are completely biodegradable, so household chemicals containing them are harmless.
What are dangerous?
Surfactants are a product obtained from the processing of petrochemical raw materials. These particles are quite aggressive. A high level of their content in the environment causes a decrease in surface tension.
This fact is of particular danger to the ocean, as it negatively affects the retention of oxygen and carbon dioxide in water. This, in turn, adversely affects its flora and fauna.
The use of surfactants in industrial production and daily economic activities leads to the deposition of their particles on the soil. As a result, these particles retain free ions of heavy metals, which significantly increases the likelihood of penetration of hazardous compounds into the human body.
Impact on the human body
Products containing surfactants that perfectly cope with pollution of any origin. However, many of them have a negative effect on the body: Upon contact with the skin, they destroy the lipid layer that serves as a defense against bacteria.
Studies have shown that it takes up to 4 hours to restore the protective layer of the skin after contact with surfactant particles.
During this period, the protective fatty layer of the epidermis is able to recover by 60%. But not all household chemicals provide such a percentage.
Therefore, due to degreasing and dehydration, the skin of the hands loses its elasticity, becomes dry and quickly ages. Surfactants with a low level of biodegradability are able to accumulate in organs and systems. Their target is most often the respiratory tract. Asthma and allergies are the most common consequences of using harsh cleaners with high levels of surfactants. In addition, the liver, heart and brain are negatively affected. The negative impact of surfactants on the male reproductive system was revealed. It equates to exposure to radioactive radiation.
It is possible to minimize the risks of the aggressive action of surfactants with the right choice of detergents. The best of them are drugs containing surfactants with a high level of biodegradability.
How to choose safe drugs?
The use of effective household chemicals has become an integral part of everyday life. This becomes an occasion for a more careful selection of the drugs used, taking into account their safety for the body: Effective and cheap products with anionic surfactants are the most dangerous to health. Their use should be kept to a minimum. Less aggressive cationic surfactants. Their efficiency is lower, but their safety is higher. The safest non-ionic surfactants. But when choosing the means in which they are contained, you should pay attention to the composition, whether it contains anionic substances. Increased foaming of the product indicates a high level of surfactant in the composition. Normally, their content should not exceed 5%.
A sensible approach to the use of detergents involves following simple tips. Here are the most important ones:
- carefully study the composition of household chemicals before purchasing and using;
- select several options for products with different types of surfactants and use them strictly according to the instructions;
- in the absence of the need to clean difficult contaminants, do not resort to using products with a high content of A-surfactants;
- get rid of dishes with chips and cracks - small particles of detergent remain in them;
- Rinse the dishes under running water to completely wash off the aggressive substances.
Following these recommendations is a guarantee of the safety and effectiveness of the use of detergents.
Surfactants in the composition of detergents ensure the effectiveness of preparations. However, only a reasonable approach to the use of household chemicals guarantees safety for the human body. When purchasing a detergent, you should take into account the complexity of the work ahead. This will help to effectively eliminate contamination and minimize the negative effects of surfactants.
Things to know (Q&A)
How do I choose the right surfactant?
Surfactants have an HLB value – the higher the number the more hydrophilic (water-soluble), the lower the number the more lipophilic (oil soluble) . Oils and applications have an HLB requirement. Matching the HLB value with the HLB requirement will give good performance.
What are the 4 types of surfactants?
The answer is yes, there are four different types of surfactants which are nonionic, anionic, cationic, amphoteric . These surfactants differ in composition and polarity. Surfactants also known as surface active agents, are used to lower the surface tension between liquids.
How are surfactants classified?
Surfactants are typically classified based on their polar head as the hydrophobic tails are often similar. If the head group has no charge, the surfactant is called non-ionic. If the head group has negative or positive charge, it is called anionic or cationic, respectively.
Which type of surfactants are classified as detergents?
Anionic Surfactants . Anionic surfactants have a negative charge on their hydrophilic end. The negative charge helps the surfactant molecules lift and suspend soils in micelles. Because they are able to attack a broad range of soils, anionic surfactants are used frequently in soaps and detergents.
Which type of surfactant is best?
Nonionic surfactants are very good at emulsifying oils and are better than anionic surfactants at removing organic soils. The two are frequently used together to create dual-action, multi-purpose cleaners that can not only lift and suspend particulate soils, but also emulsify oily soil
What makes a good surfactant?
Surfactants, or surface-active agents, are amphiphilic molecules. Their heads are polar, or hydrophilic, and their tails hydrophobic. They are soluble in both organic solvent and water . The surfactant reduces the surface tension of water by adsorbing at the liquid–gas interface.
What are the 4 types of surfactants?
The answer is yes, there are four different types of surfactants which are nonionic, anionic, cationic, amphoteric . These surfactants differ in composition and polarity. Surfactants also known as surface active agents, are used to lower the surface tension between liquid
What is a good surfactant for herbicides?
In most domestic homeowner situations, the easiest and most accessible surfactant to use is dishwashing liquid . As mentioned earlier, soap contains the surfactant Sodium stearate. Liquid dishwashing liquid can be added to a tank mix of the herbicide or pesticide being applied and mixed with water.
What are different types of surfactant?
Types of Surfactants
- Anionic Surfactants. Anionic surfactants have a negative charge on their hydrophilic end. ...
- Nonionic Surfactants. Nonionic surfactants are neutral, they do not have any charge on their hydrophilic end. ...
- Cationic Surfactants. ...
- Amphoteric Surfactants.
What are examples of surfactants?
Sodium stearate is a good example of a surfactant. It is the most common surfactant in soap. Another common surfactant is 4-(5-dodecyl)benzenesulfonate. Other examples include docusate (dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate), alkyl ether phosphates, benzalkaonium chloride (BAC), and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS
How many surfactants are there?
There are 4 types of surfactants with a brief review of each as follows. These classifications are based upon the composition of the polarity of the head group: nonionic, anionic, cationic, amphoteri
What are two surfactants?
Prominent alkyl sulfates include ammonium lauryl sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate (sodium dodecyl sulfate, SLS, or SDS) , and the related alkyl-ether sulfates sodium laureth sulfate (sodium lauryl ether sulfate or SLES), and sodium myreth sulfate. Others include: Docusate (dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate)
How do you classify surfactants?
There are 4 types of surfactants with a brief review of each as follows. These classifications are based upon the composition of the polarity of the head group: nonionic, anionic, cationic, amphoteric . A non-ionic surfactant has no charge groups in its head. The head of an ionic surfactant carries a net charge.
How are surfactants characterized?
Surfactants, or surface-active agents, are amphiphilic molecules. Their heads are polar, or hydrophilic, and their tails hydrophobic . They are soluble in both organic solvent and water. The surfactant reduces the surface tension of water by adsorbing at the liquid–gas interface.