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surface-active agent

[sur-fis-ak-tiv] /ˈsɜr fɪsˌæk tɪv/
noun, Chemistry
1.
any substance that when dissolved in water or an aqueous solution reduces its surface tension or the interfacial tension between it and another liquid.
Also called surfactant.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Encyclopedia Article for surf-ace active agents

surface-active agent

substance such as a detergent that, when added to a liquid, reduces its surface tension, thereby increasing its spreading and wetting properties. In the dyeing of textiles, surface-active agents help the dye penetrate the fabric evenly. They are used to disperse aqueous suspensions of insoluble dyes and perfumes.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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