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Surfactants, also known as wetting agents, lower the surface tension of a liquid, allowing easier spreading. Surfactants active in water are usually organic substances such as alcohols and soaps that contain both hydrophobic and hydrophilic components to their molecules, and are thus semi-soluble in both organic and aqueous solvents.

Surfactants are active ingredients in detergents, emulsifiers, paints, adhesives, inks, and so on.

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