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surfactant

[ser-fak-tuh nt] /sərˈfæk tənt/
noun, Chemistry
Origin
1945-1950
1945-50; shortening of surf(ace)-act(ive) a(ge)nt
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for surfactant
  • Use the base surfactant which is an ester of a natural fatty acid derived from plants and trees.
  • But it doesn't have the qualities a surfactant has for lifting dirt away.
  • They work, but won't last as they are effectively monolayers of surfactant.
British Dictionary definitions for surfactant

surfactant

/sɜːˈfæktənt/
noun
1.
Also called surface-active agent. a substance, such as a detergent, that can reduce the surface tension of a liquid and thus allow it to foam or penetrate solids; a wetting agent
adjective
2.
having the properties of a surfactant
Word Origin
C20: surf(ace)-act(ive) a(ge)nt
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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surfactant in Medicine

surfactant sur·fac·tant (sər-fāk'tənt, sûr'fāk'-)
n.

  1. A surface-active substance.

  2. A substance composed of lipoprotein that is secreted by the alveolar cells of the lung and serves to maintain the stability of pulmonary tissue by reducing the surface tension of fluids that coat the lung.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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surfactant in Science
surfactant
  (sər-fāk'tənt)   
  1. A substance that, when dissolved in water, lowers the surface tension of the water and increases the solubility of organic compounds. Surfactants are used in inks to increase the effects of capillary action; detergents are surfactants that help remove organic compounds from a substance by making them dissolve more readily in the water in which the substance is washed.

  2. A substance composed of lipoprotein that is secreted by the alveolar cells of the lung and maintains the stability of pulmonary tissue by reducing the surface tension of fluids that coat the lung.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for surfactant

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.

Learn more about surface-active agent with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Word Value for surfactant

15
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