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surfactant

[ ser-fak-tuhnt ]

noun

, Chemistry.


surfactant

/ sɜːˈfæktənt /

noun

  1. Also calledsurface-active agent a substance, such as a detergent, that can reduce the surface tension of a liquid and thus allow it to foam or penetrate solids; a wetting agent


adjective

  1. having the properties of a surfactant

surfactant

/ sər-făktənt /

  1. A substance that, when dissolved in water, lowers the surface tension of the water and increases the solubility of organic compounds. Surfactants are used in inks to increase the effects of capillary action; detergents are surfactants that help remove organic compounds from a substance by making them dissolve more readily in the water in which the substance is washed.
  2. A substance composed of lipoprotein that is secreted by the alveolar cells of the lung and maintains the stability of pulmonary tissue by reducing the surface tension of fluids that coat the lung.


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Word History and Origins

Origin of surfactant1

1945–50; shortening of surf(ace)-act(ive) a(ge)nt
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Word History and Origins

Origin of surfactant1

C20: surf ( ace ) -act ( ive ) a ( ge ) nt
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Example Sentences

In addition, the surfactants allow for water to better clean glasses without leaving spots and help glasses sparkle more.

The surfactant vessel stands near dozens of other ingredients, each waiting to be used in a recipe for different household cleaning products.

While marketed as a gentle makeup remover, the low concentration of surfactants within it mean it functions essentially the same as soapy water, without the need for any additional water to remove residue.

The researchers then reduced the water’s surface tension with a surfactant to make it more difficult for the ants to float.

Different types of surfactants are often added to pesticides to help them spread better, the researchers say, so ants could potentially be exposed to similar conditions in the wild as they were in the lab.

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