In this artcle we will:
see why certain molecules have the ability to lower the surface and interfacial tension
and how the surface activity of a molecule is related to its molecular structure
look at the properties of some surfactants that are commonly used in pharmacy
examine the nature and properties of monolayers formed when insoluble surfactants are spread over the surface of a liquid look at some of the factors that infl uence adsorption onto solid surfaces and see how experimental data from adsorption experiments may be analysed to gain information on the process of adsorption
see why micelles are formed, examine the structure of ionic and non-ionic micelles and
look at some of the factors that infl uence micelle formation examine the properties of liquid crystals and surfactant vesicles discuss the process of solubilisation of water-insoluble compounds by surfactant micelles and its applications in pharmacy.
Surfactants have two distinct regions in their chemical structure, one of which is water-liking or hydrophilic and the other of which is water-hating or hydrophobic. These molecules are referred to as amphiphilic or amphipathic molecules or simply as surfactants or surface active agents.
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