Unusual applications of surface active agents
Surface active agents are all too often associated only with “cleaning” and regarded as unavoidable nuisances, dangerous to the people and the environment. The reality is that surfactants do a lot more than just cleaning: they solve challenging industrial problems and bring benefits essential to maintain our standard of living.
A few examples are given, and a call is launched to people with an open, creative mind to grab the many demands for solving still unanswered problems.
All too often in the minds of people surface active agents are, at the worst, associated to something mysterious, unintelligible, posing a hazard to the health of peopale and enemy of the environment, to be looked upon with great suspicion and at the best as an unavoidable nuisance if you have to wash clothes or keep the bathroom tidy or to take care of your hair and skin.
If the major proportion of the volumes consumed are for those purposes, there is little awareness of the many applications where surfactants play a key role, providing unusual effects and benefits.
The list would be too long to be reported in the few hundreds words of these columns, but I will try to highlight some examples exploiting the specialty effects surfactants can produce.
FOOD FORMULATION INGREDIENTS
What would our tables be without bread, mayonnaise, fried preparations, salads, chocolate cakes, ice creams?
All these, and many other products that it would be just too long to report, rely on surfactants, mostly different variations of fatty acid esters because of their real and perceived ...