Detergent is chemical substances that have the ability to remove or separate the dirt that is on the surface of an object without corroding or damaging.They are also known as cleaning agents.
The efficiency and behaviour of Detergent is influenced by their structures, the nature of the material to be cleaned, the nature of the dirt, and the temperature of the cleansing operation. Detergents may be classified as anionic, e.g. Gardinols and Lissapols, cationic, e.g. Sapamines, and non-ionic, e.g. the Igepals, according to the nature of the surface active ions on ionisation. Generally they contain hydrocarbon groups which are water repellent or hydrophobic and responsible for the surface activity.
The action of Detergent is complex but involves a lowering of the surface tension at the interface between the water and the material to be cleaned, the hydrophobic groups lying on this interface. These water repellent groups then dissolve the dirt, keep it in suspension, and bring with them the hydrophilic groups which dissolve in the water and allow the surface of the dirty material to become completely wet so that the water can penetrate the material if it is porous. Thus a Detergent acts as a bridge between the solid material and the water. Its concentration must be adequate to retain the dirt in suspension or re-deposition of the dirt will occur.
Operation Of Detergents
The way in which detergents work to carry out their cleaning action is defined in four main steps:
Refers to the breaking of the surface of water so that a single drop of water is able to wet a larger surface.The water concentrates in the form of a drop and only covers a very small surface.
once the drop of water could cover more surface, begins to penetrate the pores of the surface and comes into contact with the porous areas where the dirt is concentrated.
In this step fine particles of one or more liquids are formed in another liquid.
This is the part in which the dirt is separated from the surface in the form of particles in solution. When the dirt forms the particles in solution it can no longer be deposited on the surface.
Characteristics Of Detergents
Detergents have the following characteristics:
They are soluble in water
They have a part related to fats
They do not affect the tissues
They are not toxic or produce allergies
They are capable of removing stains
They have no smell or are added essences that do not make them unpleasant
Some have enzymes capable of undoing spots created by proteins.