detergent

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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
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 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 ?
The result, however, is a more purpose driven solution as the product gives good wetting, solvency and detergency and results in more readily freeing solids from the walls of pipelines.
The over basing impacts both alkaline reserve and detergency and is of particular importance in the piston ring packs where detergency will provide cleaning and prevent varnish formation.
Shell noted that its research indicates that "fuels with more cleaning agents can remove deposits left behind by low detergency gasolines," which in turn helps vehicles "achieve optimal performance as well as reduced emissions.
engines: better detergency and lubricity--eliminating the need for polluting sulfur as a lubricity additive--and generally make engines run quieter and cooler, with increased durability due to reduced formation of harmful engine deposits.
Therefore, by careful polymer design and synthesis it should be possible to combine the functions of VII, pour-point depression, and detergency within a single polymer additive.
Pack boasts of a high detergency formula and we have no reason to doubt it, as it was beaten only by the remarkable Comma when it came to our self-inflicted stains.
The petrol detergency additives based on bisalkenylsuccinic acid imides were patented, and it was shown that the efficiency of these compounds increases with increasing nitrogen content in the molecule [18].
However, he also points out that changes to improve soot handling capability, detergency and thermal stability of engine oils for on-highway emissions requirements improve the drain interval capability of oils for off-highway applications.
They owe their detergency, or cleaning ability, to the displacement of contaminants by surface-active materials and alkaline builders.
Reassessment of the role of gut alkalinity and detergency in insect herbivory.
This detergency is not unique to Herzl's writing; it is present in much early Zionist propaganda material, of which Altneuland would constitute a sustained example.
One possible explanation for this phenomenon is that the detergency action of the dishwashing liquid and baking soda tended TABULAR DATA OMITTED TABULAR DATA OMITTED to break up clumps of viable cells to a greater extent and therefore resulted in higher colony counts, although the actual number of viable cells was equivalent to the products with less detergency.