Factors Affecting Detergents Properties


The choice of detergent is influenced by the type of work to be carried out; however, there are physicochemical properties that are common to all detergents that may be helpful in deciding which is the most suitable agent for the job in hand. Furthermore, understanding the external factors and internal factors affecting the properties of detergents will not only help you to use detergents more rationally in the subsequent work, but also provides theoretical basis and lays a foundation for your design and synthesis of novel detergents.

Factors Affecting Detergents Properties

Factors Affecting Detergents Properties

The common physicochemical properties parameters of detergents include critical micelle concentration (CMC), hydrophilic-lipophilic balance (HLB), aggregation numbers and cloud point. The factors that affect these properties are described point by point below.

Factors affecting on CMC: There are several factors that can affect the CMC of a given detergent.

  • Hydrophobic and hydrophilic groups: Generally, the CMC decreases as the hydrophobicity of the detergent increases. Thus, the factors that directly affect the CMC are the characteristics of the hydrophobic and hydrophilic groups. More precisely, detergents containing ionic head groups have a higher CMC than those containing nonionic head groups; The CMC decreases with the length of the alkyl chain of the detergent and increases on the introduction of double bonds and branch points.
  • Electrolytes: Electrolytes tend to reduce the CMC of detergent solutions.
  • Others: The CMC varies with pH, ionic strength, temperature as well as the presence of other substance such as protein, lipid and detergent. For examples, in ionic detergents, the CMC is reduced by increasing the concentration of counter ions, but is relatively unaffected by changes in temperature. Conversely, the CMC of non-ionic detergents is relatively unaffected by increasing ionic strength, but increases substantially with increasing temperature.

Factors Affecting Detergents Properties

Factors affecting on HLB: As we all know, the HLB value is calculated according to hydrophilic head group and hydrophobic tail of detergents. Obviously, the nature and size of hydrophobic and hydrophilic group of the detergents will directly affect the HLB value.

Factors affecting on aggregation numbers: Several factors can affect the aggregation numbers of a given detergent.

  • Hydrophobic and hydrophilic groups: In general, aggregation numbers increase as the length of the hydrocarbon chain increases. Aggregation numbers tend to decrease as the size of the hydrophilic group increases.
  • Temperature: Increasing the temperature of solutions of detergents causes an increase in the aggregation number.
  • Ionic strength: The aggregation number is also influenced by the ionic strength—addition of inorganic salts can increase the aggregation number of ionic detergent, but has little effect on the aggregation number of non-ionic detergent.

Factors affecting on cloud point: Generally speaking, non-polar additives will increase the cloud point of detergents while polar additives and salt will reduce cloud point of detergents. With the increase of detergents concentration, cloud point first decreases and then increases.

In summary, it can be concluded that the property parameters of a detergent are affected by the following factors:

  • Detergent hydrophobic group
  • Detergent hydrophilic group
  • Length of the alkyl chain
  • Detergent concentration
  • Additives
  • Ionic strength
  • Length of the alkyl chain
  • pH
  • Temperature

Alfa Chemistry can provide a wide range of high-quality detergents with all kinds of properties that can meet your any research demands. We also provide a variety of detergent related services. If you have any help with the detergents, you can call or email us. Our detergent experts will do their best to help you solve your doubts, and provide customized solutions. It is worth mentioning that based on the full understanding of the properties of detergents and their affecting factors, we have launched the detergents selection and detergents design services, which will help you choose a suitable detergent for your scientific research and also shorten the research and development cycle of the new detergent, greatly saving your cost and time. Please feel free to contact us.

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