Researcher: John Stride
University of New South Wales
School of Chemistry
Improving the cost-effectiveness of a surfactant
A surfactant is a surface-active agent such as a detergent that reduces the surface tension of a liquid in which it is dissolved, allowing it to foam or penetrate solids.
Gemini surfactants can be up to three orders of magnitude more efficient than conventional surfactants of equal chain length, and have promising application as industrial detergents. They have even shown efficiency in skin care and pharmaceutical applications.
Known gemini surfactants have historically been prepared by long, complicated and non-cost-effective synthetic steps. With research capability in molecular and molecule-based materials, Associate Professor John Stride investigated the synthesis of various cost-effective gemini surfactants, as well as for use as an additive in commercial applications. Further investigations explored the applicability and synthesis of gemini surfactants for specific uses such as in washable paint and antimicrobial coatings.