Quaternary ammonium salt surfactants are formed by replacing all four hydrogen atoms of ammonium cation [H4N+] with organic groups, which are the most important cationic surfactant. These quaternary ammonium salt surfactants are not limited by the solution system's pH value, and they exhibit good antistatic, soft, antiseptic, bactericidal, emulsifying, and dispersion properties. It has been widely used in various fields such as industry, agriculture and daily life.
Compared to the other surfactants, quaternary ammonium salt surfactants have the several advantages:
- Quaternary ammonium salt surfactants are mild and do not irritate the skin and eyes.
- In an oil–water system, quaternary ammonium salt surfactants exhibit improved interfacial chemical properties.
- The quaternary ammonium salt surfactants can be complexed with Ca2+ and other metal ions to form water-soluble complex ions, which exhibit strong resistance to hard water.
- Furthermore, the quaternary ammonium salts endow surfactants with insecticidal/herbicidal or antimicrobial activities.
Quaternary ammonium salt surfactants are widely used in various fields of life due to their unique physical and chemical properties and has become an indispensable part of people's lives.
Quaternary ammonium salt surfactants have antistatic properties, softness, good sterilization and disinfection capabilities, and can give fibers a good softening effect. They are mainly used as antistatic agents and softeners in the textile industry.
Quaternary ammonium surfactants can be used as fatliquors and softeners in leather because of their good lubricity and water repellency. In addition, quaternary ammonium salt surfactants can also be used as finishing agents, water repellants, and enzyme preparations to make leather soft and bright.
Quaternary ammonium salt surfactant cleaning agent has good cleaning performance and strong detergency. It can not only eliminate oil stains on metal surfaces, but also clean hand sweat, inorganic salts and other dirt. In addition, it is non-flammable, non-toxic and safe to use. As well as good corrosion inhibition and anti-corrosion ability, it can also save energy and reduce environmental pollution, and is suitable for mechanized automatic cleaning.
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- Zhi L.; et al. Synthesis and properties of stellate lactosamide quaternary ammonium surfactants. Colloid. Surface. A, 2005, 628(5): 127317-127332.