Detergents, or synthetic soap, are made from different chemical that provides a variety of properties that increase the cleaning property of the detergent or to serve a specific purpose.
They are mainly,
- Builders & Additives
- Stabilisers & Fillers
- Preparation Chemicals
Today, we will be looking into surfactants and some preparation chemicals used to produce raw chemicals necessary in manufacturing of detergent.
Surfactants, or surface active agents, are compounds that lower the surface tension between 2 liquid or between a liquid and a solid. This breaks the interface between the water and oil / dirt. Once isolated, surfactants hold the undesired oils and dirt in suspension, which allows its eventual removal from the object.
This property is conferred by the hydrophilic and hydrophobic groups that exist together on surfactant molecules. Some common examples of surfactants in detergent are Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate & Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonates.
Take Sodium Lauryl Sulfate as an example, the hydrocarbon tail attracts the water-insoluble oil or dirt, while the hydrophilic head interacts with water.