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Cationic Surfactants

Cationic surfactant is a positively charged surfactant and refers to a hydrophilic base whose molecules are dissolved in water and attached to a lipophilic base. The lipophilic base is usually a long carbon chain hydrocarbon base. Most hydrophilic bases are cations containing nitrogen atoms, and few are cations containing sulfur or phosphorus atoms. According to the chemical structure of cationic surfactants, they can be divided into amine salt type, quaternary ammonium salt type, and heterocyclic type.

Cationic surfactant


  • Textile industry: Cationic Surfactant is the most widely used fabric softener, as well as the antistatic agent for chemical fiber oils.

  • Metal industry: Cationic surfactants can be used as metal corrosion inhibitors. The corrosion inhibitor in which cationic surfactant is as the main component has the advantages of high efficiency, low toxicity, easy production, low price, and its waste liquid can be used as the metal oil cleaning agent and rust remover after cleaning.

  • Paper industry: Cationic surfactant with positive charge has a strong binding capacity with pulp with negatively charged cellulose, and can be directly fixed on the anion pulp fiber. And the combination of fiber and cationic surfactant can improve the strength of the paper and the retention rate of the filler and fine fibers.

  • Coating industry: The role of cationic surfactants in coatings is mainly to make the pigment particles evenly and stably dispersed in the paint, increase the lubricating performance of the coating to the pigment, improve the grinding effect, improve the flow performance, improve the appearance of the film, and increase the resistance to scraping and wear.

  • Oil industry: Cationic surfactants can be used for oil viscosity reduction, oil well fixation, oil pipeline protection and sterilization.

  • Water purification industry: Cationic surfactants are used to treat domestic sewage and industrial waste water.


  1. Liu Y; et al. (1998). Quaternary ammonium salt type cationic surfactant. Fine chemical dictionary.
  2. Zhang Y; et al. (2000). New progress in the application of cationic surfactants in modern industrial production. Surface active agent industry.