There are varieties of products that include surfactants as the main chemical compound to ensure any desired outcome in anything that requires lower surface tension. Agricultural surfactant is rampant in this generation as it is essential for growing crops. And agriculture is one of the most important factors in society as it provides us with products that help us fill our table with foods and other agricultural products.
Aside from learning what types of surfactants are available in the market and what types you should be purchasing, you should also know how to properly use them. These chemicals are encountered on a day-to-day basis that helps us understand the essence of surfactants.
How Does Surfactant Work?
When there are enough surfactant molecules in the solution, these molecules combine and form structures called micelles. As these molecules form, the surfactant head (hydrophilic head) place themselves so they are exposed to water. The tails (hydrophobic tails) are then structured together at the center to protect them from water.
The micelles will function as a section that removes soil. The tails are attracted to soils, then surround them. While the heads pull the surrounded soils into the surface and the cleaning mixture. The micelles will then alter their form with their tails suspending the soil in the middle of the structure
Industries That Uses Surfactants
- Machine Dishwashing Powders and Tablets
- Washing up Liquids
- Shampoos and Shower Gels
- Hair Conditioners and Fabric Softeners
Types of Surfactants
- Anionic Surfactants– negatively charged and enhances foaming and spreading properties. The use of this surfactant in the greenhouse can cause harm with sprayers that are mixed with agitators.
- Cationic Surfactants– are positively charged surfactants and are very toxic to plants. This surfactant is not suggested to be used for pesticides. Instead, you may see this type of surfactant as a basic component of heavy-duty cleaning products.
- Amphoteric Surfactants– this is the type of surfactant that is very unusual since they can form either positive or negative charges in water.
- Nonionic Surfactants– this surfactant has no charge. Mostly used surfactant for crops. Using these surfactants requires extensive knowledge about sprays and mixtures. They do not harm plants and do a great job of breaking any water surface tension which is important and makes this surfactant useful for agriculture.
Choosing The Right Surfactants
1. Price- taking care of a huge land of crops is not a cheap lifestyle as it takes a lot of chemicals and effort to make your crops grow healthier. And one thing we should always take into consideration is the price of the surfactant.
2.Chemically inert- we don’t want to buy a lot of individual chemicals because buying different types of chemicals means different price tags. Which is a big no-no as stated in number 1. Various companies sell chemically inert surfactants that make it more convenient if you need combined chemicals already. Since mixing these chemicals are complicated and may cause harm if misused, this is a safer option for you when choosing the right surfactant.
3. Trusted Source of Surfactant- knowing where and who you’re getting your products from can be one of the most important factors of purchasing a surfactant. They are trusted for many years and therefore your top choice.
Choosing the right surfactants isn’t the only thing that we should be considering but also the effects it gives to nature itself. These chemicals might be toxic and harmful once mixed with other properties and not being taken with safety precautions.
Agricultural surfactants that help you grow and are of the highest standard should be the ones you should use only for your crops. Ensure that the surfactants you will be acquiring reduce surface tension and will help the pH balance to ensure that the quality of pesticides and herbicides is enhanced to prevent any unwanted outcomes of your agronomic or horticultural crops.