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The difference between dispersants and Surfactant

The difference between dispersants and Surfactant

2021-05-24

The main difference between dispersants and Surfactant is that dispersants improve particle separation in suspension, whereas Surfactant are substances that reduce the surface tension between the phases of a substance.

Dispersants are a form of Surfactant. But none of the Surfactant are dispersants. In addition to acting as a dispersant, Surfactant can also act as a detergent, wetting agent, emulsifier, foaming agent. Usually, they’re organic compounds.

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What is a dispersant?

A dispersant is a liquid or gas used to disperse small particles in a medium. We also call it “Plasticizer”. They come in two forms. Non-surface active polymers and surface active substances. We add these substances to the suspension to avoid the formation of clusters of particles. This improves particle separation to avoid cluster formation. In addition, the process prevents particle settling. In most cases, the dispersant consists of one or more Surfactant substances. 

Applications include the production of automotive engine oil, the prevention of biofilm formation in various industries, the avoidance of the use of large amounts of water in concrete mixing, and the breaking down of solids into particles in oil drilling.

What’s a Surfactant?

Surfactant is a substance that reduces the surface tension between two phases of matter. It can reduce the surface tension between two liquids, between gas and liquid or between liquid and solid. Most of the time, they are amphiphilic organic compounds. This means that these substances contain both hydrophilic and hydrophobic regions within the same molecule. Therefore, they contain both water-soluble and non-water-soluble regions.

Surfactant applications include detergents, wetting agents, dispersants, emulsifiers, foaming and defoaming in many products, such as detergents, emulsions, paints, soaps, inks, antifumes, adhesives, insecticides, etc.

What’s the difference between a dispersant and a Surfactant?

A dispersant is a liquid or gas used to disperse small particles in a medium. Surfactant is a substance that reduces the surface tension between two phases of matter. However, the dispersant is in the form of Surfactant. The two substances have different functions. This means that the dispersant prevents the formation of clusters of particles in the suspension, while the Surfactant reduces the surface tension between the two liquids, gas and liquid, or liquid and solid. That’s the main difference between dispersants and Surfactant. Moreover, dispersants work by orienting the particles at the liquid-gas interface, while Surfactant act by adsorbing at the solid-liquid interface. Thus ensuring the repulsion between the particles. 

Dispersants are a form of Surfactant. The difference between dispersants and Surfactant is that dispersants improve particle separation in suspension, whereas Surfactant are substances that reduce the surface tension between the two phases of a substance.

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