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Surfactant refers to a substance that can change the interface state of a solution system significantly by adding a small amount of it. Surfactant molecules have both fixed hydrophilic groups and lipophilic groups. The hydrophilic groups tend to enter the aqueous phase, and the lipophilic groups tend to escape the aqueous phase. Therefore, surfactant molecules preferentially occupy the two-phase interface of water/oil (or air), and adopt a directional arrangement mode with the hydrophilic end toward the water phase and the hydrophobic end toward the oil phase (or air), so as to reduce the surface free energy of the system. This special chemical structure determines that surfactant has active interfacial properties, showing good wetting, emulsifying, foaming and other interfacial modification effects.
Surfactant is widely used in various daily life and industrial production, such as washing, oil field flooding, solubilization, sterilization, pharmacy and anti-static. In order to apply surfactant better, it is necessary to understand the performances of surfactants. Therefore, it is very important to analyze surfactants qualitatively or quantitatively. Furthermore, many reagents such as methylene blue, chloroform, dichloromethane, citric acid and the others are used in surfactant analysis.
Spectrophotometry: Spectrophotometry is the most commonly used method to analyze the concentration of surfactants. According to the analysis process, spectrophotometry can be divided into extraction spectrophotometry and aqueous phase direct spectrophotometry. For example, the anionic surfactant sodium alkyl-benzenesulfonate can be analyzed by extraction spectrophotometry, in which the main reagents used include methylene blue, chloroform, sodium hydroxide, isopropyl alcohol, EDTA and others.
Two-phase titration method: In the two-phase titration method, the surfactant can complex with the indicator in the aqueous phase to form a salt substance, which is insoluble in water, but soluble in organic solvents. In this method, the end point of the reaction can be determined by the color change of the indicator, and a single indicator or a variety of mixed indicators can be selected. Methylene blue, thymol blue, chloroform and dichloromethane are common reagents in this method.
Others: In addition to the above methods, there are a variety of surfactant analysis methods, including liquid chromatography, thin layer chromatography, electrochemical analysis, capillary electrophoresis, etc. According to the characteristics of each method, different surfactant analysis reagents are selected. For example, liquid chromatography can not only determine sulfonate type anionic surfactants in water, but also can clearly separate isomers. It is widely used in the analysis of various anionic surfactants in water environment. Methanol and water are commonly used surfactant analysis reagents in this method. Cationic surfactants, such as tetrabutyl ammonium bromide, dodecyl trimethyl ammonium bromide, CTAB and so on, can be rapidly separated and analyzed by capillary electrophoresis method. In this method, the main surfactant analysis reagents used include sodium hydroxide, citric acid, boric acid, β–cyclodextrin.
Alfa Chemistry is one of the largest providers of surfactant analysis reagents in the world and the quality assurance is of prime importance to Alfa Chemistry. The solvent from Alfa Chemistry in the world is synonymous with reliability and excellent quality. Because of the exacting nature of our business and the regulatory demands placed upon our industry, Alfa Chemistry continues to be at the forefront in terms of compliance, accreditations and certifications.