Surfactants are amphiphilic compounds or molecules that lower the surface tension (or interfacial tension) between different components; liquid-liquid, solid-liquid, liquid-gas, by means of adsorption. Surfactants are are widely used across multiple industries and applications as detergents, foaming agents, wetting agents, emulsifiers and dispersants. Above a critical concentration (Critical Micelle Concentration) surfactants aggregate to form micelles. These are usually spherical in nature but can also evolve into other structures/phases such as rods (worm-like micelles) and sheets (lamellar phase) depending on concentration, ionic strength, pH, temperature and presence of co-surfactants. Worm-like micelles are commonly used to thicken personal care products such a shampoos and shower gels and also find use in enhanced oil recovery applications. Other applications include drug delivery and encapsulation.
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