Topics: Surfactant, Detergent, Soap Pages: 3 (657 words) Published: February 26, 2013
A detergent is a surfactant or a mixture of surfactants with "cleaning properties in dilute solutions."[1] These substances are usually alkylbenzenesulfonates, a family of compounds that are similar to soap but are more soluble in hard water, because the polar sulfonate (of detergents) is less likely than the polar carboxyl (of soap) to bind to calcium and other ions found in hard water. In most household contexts, the term detergent by itself refers specifically to laundry detergent or dish detergent, as opposed to hand soap or other types of cleaning agents. Detergents are commonly available as powders or concentrated solutions. Detergents, like soaps, work because they are amphiphilic: partly hydrophilic (polar) and partly hydrophobic (non-polar). Their dual nature facilitates the mixture of hydrophobic compounds (like oil and grease) with water. Because air is not hydrophilic, detergents are also foaming agents to varying degrees. Contents [hide]

1 Chemical classification of detergents
1.1 Anionic detergents
1.2 Cationic detergents
1.3 Non-ionic and zwitterionic detergents
2 Major applications of detergents
2.1 Laundry detergents
2.2 Fuel additives
2.3 Biological Reagent
2.4 Soapless soap
3 See also
4 References
5 External links
[edit]Chemical classification of detergents

Detergents are classified into three broad groupings, depending on the electrical charge of the surfactants. [edit]Anionic detergents
Typical anionic detergents are alkylbenzenesulfonates. The alkylbenzene portion of these anions is lipophilic and the sulfonate is hydrophilic. Two different varieties have been popularized, those with branched alkyl groups and those with linear alkyl groups. The former were largely phased out in economically advanced societies because they are poorly biodegradable.[2] An estimated 6 billion kilograms of anionic detergents are produced annually for domestic markets. Bile acids, such as deoxycholic acid (DOC), are anionic...
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