detergent

(redirected from detergency)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.

detergent

(dētûr`jənt, dĭ–), substance that aids in the removal of dirt. Detergents act mainly on the oily films that trap dirt particles. The detergent molecules have a hydrocarbon portion, soluble in oil, and an ionic portion, soluble in water. The detergent acts as an emulsifier, i.e., by bridging the water and oil phases, it breaks the oil into tiny droplets suspended in water. The disruption of the oil film allows the dirt particles to become solubilized. Soap, the sodium salt of long-chain fatty acids, is a good detergent although it has some disadvantages, e.g., it forms insoluble compounds with certain salts found in hard water thus diminishing its effectiveness, and in acid solutions, frequently used in industry, it is decomposed (thus precipitating the free fatty acid of the soap). Synthetic detergents were produced experimentally in France before the middle of the 19th cent. and were further developed in Germany during World War I. However, not until the 1930s were chemical processes developed that made production in quantity feasible in any country. Synthetic detergents were first developed for commercial use in the 1950s. Detergents are classified as anionic, or negatively charged, e.g., soaps; cationic, or positively charged, e.g., tetraalkyl ammonium chloride, used as fabric softeners; nonionic, e.g., certain esters made from oil, used as degreasing agents in industry; and zwitterionic, containing both positive and negative ions on the same molecule. Detergents are incorporated in such products as dry-cleaning solutions, toothpastes, antiseptics, and solutions for removing poison sprays from vegetables and fruit. Laundry detergent preparations may contain substances called builders, which enhance cleansing; however, phosphate-containing builders have been found to contribute to eutrophicationeutrophication
, aging of a lake by biological enrichment of its water. In a young lake the water is cold and clear, supporting little life. With time, streams draining into the lake introduce nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which encourage the growth of aquatic
..... Click the link for more information.
 of waterways and their use has been banned in many areas. Detergents that can be decomposed by microorganisms are termed biodegradable. Detergents are important chemicals used for enhanced petroleum recovery.

detergent

[di′tər·jənt]
(materials)
A synthetic cleansing agent resembling soap in the ability to emulsify oil and hold dirt, and containing surfactants which do not precipitate in hard water; may also contain protease enzymes and whitening agents.

detergent

a cleansing agent, esp a surface-active chemical such as an alkyl sulphonate, widely used in industry, laundering, shampoos, etc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Enzymes were always known for their stain removing capabilities, but now they're considered a base ingredient to deliver detergency," explained Anders Lund, senior marketing director, Novozymes.
ECOCOOL 7830 B is formulated with outstanding bio-resistance for long service life, excellent lubricity to protect tools against wear, and good detergency for machine and part cleanliness.
It provides superior detergency compared with NP9 allowing excellent performing formulations without adding solvents.
The product provides excellent wetting abilities resulting in high cutting performance, microbiological growth control without biocide addition, and provides cleanliness on tools and machines with good detergency.
5% active this blend has superior hard surface detergency.
Comments: Calimulse EM-96F is a noncaking sulfonate fake with exceptional detergency and emulsification, great wetting and solubilization characteristics.
Surface washing agent is any product that removes oil from solid surfaces, such as beaches and rocks, through a detergency mechanism and does not involve dispersing or solubilizing the oil into the water column.
They provide excellent surface tension reduction, no gel formation at any aqueous solution concentration, excellent wetting and detergency and low foam.
That's why BMW, General Motors, Honda and Toyota introduced a TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline standard to enhance detergency performance of gasoline to address problems with engine deposits.
New readily biodegradable, nontoxic detergency booster that provides extremely fast dirt penetration in standard surfactant systems.
Castrol Tection Extra has superior dispersancy to manage high soot levels, powerful detergency to neutralize acids generated in the engine and a unique low ash chemistry that will not compromise performance in older engines, and exceeds all specifications on EGR engines.