The worldwide consumption of surfactants now exceeds several million tonnes per annum. Six ofthe major types represent approximately 80% ofthe volume consumed, whereas the remaining 20% is made up of approximately 40 different chemical types. Commercially produced surface active agents are not pure chemicals, and within each chemical type there can be tremendous variation. Technical staff who are not familiar with surfactants are frequently bewildered by the enormous variety of different products on the market and the vast body of literature which exists on the composition and properties of surfactants. The selection of the best surfactant for any given use therefore becomes a major problem. This volume arose from the clear need to have available a simple reference book summarising the different types of surfactants on the market and their properties. The concept and structure of the book evolved from early attempts to define chemical structure/property relationships of all the different types of surfactants commercially available, into a simple handbook providing essential background information for the surfactant user. It is realised that most users will be developing their own data bank of structure/end use property relationships and they will therefore be the experts on end use.
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