surfactant

[ser-fak-tuhnt]
noun Chemistry.

Origin:
1945–50; shortening of surf(ace)-act(ive) a(ge)nt

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To surfactant
Collins
World English Dictionary
surfactant (sɜːˈfæktənt)
 
n
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
 
adj
2.  having the properties of a surfactant
 
[C20: surf(ace)-act(ive) a(ge)nt]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Science Dictionary
surfactant   (sər-fāk'tənt)  Pronunciation Key 
  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.
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

surfactant

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 surfactant with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
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.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature
FAVORITES
RECENT

;