Meaning of surfactant in English:


Pronunciation /səˈfakt(ə)nt/


  • A substance which tends to reduce the surface tension of a liquid in which it is dissolved.

    ‘The primary conditioning ingredients are cationic surfactants, silicones, and polymers.’
    • ‘Silicone surfactants, and amine and tin catalysts, are also used.’
    • ‘Research on surfactants and membrane solubilization showed that anionic surfactants interact more with lipid bilayers.’
    • ‘They include such materials as thickeners, surfactants, defoamers, biocides, and pigment dispersants.’
    • ‘The third item on the list is a surfactant like liquid dishwashing detergent.’
    • ‘Also known as surfactants, these materials help stabilize the system by reducing the interfacial tension between the two phases.’
    • ‘This phosphate group makes phospholipids polar like surfactants.’
    • ‘They act like surfactants and displace ‘foaming’ beer proteins from the surface.’
    • ‘Their activity may be enhanced by using membrane-disrupting surfactants such as quaternary ammonium compounds.’
    • ‘The company's dishwashing liquid, for example, contains surfactants made from vegetable oil, as well as ingredients such as aloe vera and wheat protein.’
    • ‘This is the result of there being too little of a substance known as a surfactant, which acts as a kind of detergent or wetting agent to lower the surface tension of the fluid in the lungs.’
    • ‘The nonstick chemicals also serve in stain-resistant coatings and as surfactants in fire-fighting foams, floor polishes, and insecticides.’
    • ‘In 1937 the first cationic surfactants were used in bituminous road construction and these were quaternary ammonium salts.’
    • ‘Finally, addition of cationic surfactants to lipid membranes leads to hole formation.’
    • ‘Similar approaches were used for the adsorption of surfactants and polymers.’
    • ‘The use of crop oil, surfactants or fertilizer solutions generally increases burndown activity of these herbicides.’
    • ‘This same swimming response can be elicited by contact with several other seastars, or by surfactants such as soaps and detergents, or by strong salt solutions.’
    • ‘The most commonly used spray additives include oils, surfactants, and certain fertilizers.’
    • ‘Water is a fabulous cleaning agent, but it's even better when tiny nanoscale particles, such as detergent surfactants, are dispersed in it.’
    • ‘Common binders are a combination of waxes and organic materials, which may include thermoplastics or thermosets along with surfactants and other additives.’


1950s from surf(ace)-act(ive)+ -ant.