Glossary



Surfactants

Surfactants (also referred to as detergents) are the main constituent of detergents and cleaners.
Surfactants are synthetic organic compounds which, because of their amphipathic character, reduce the surface tension of the water, e.g. soaps or detergents. They have an elongated structure with a hydrophobic and a hydrophilic part of the molecule.
In sewage treatment plants, surfactants undergo biodegradation and thus largely lose their surface area activity. Poorly biodegradable surfactants are biologically degraded by microorganisms only to a limited extent. Since they are toxic to aquatic organisms, their complete biodegradability is particularly important. Surfactants must therefore be completely degraded under laboratory conditions within 28 days.
High concentrations of surfactants in the feed can cause foaming. Surfactant foam shimmers in a light color. Normally, this foam disappears when the entry of the substance decreases.


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