Soapy cleavage

Cleavable surfactant materials may be useful to textile manufacturing, biomedical diagnostics, and other applications where modifying the surface properties of liquids or solids is required, according to researchers at Sandia National Laboratory. Sandia's Scott Vaupen explains how researchers there have developed readily cleavable surfactants based on Diels-Alder chemistry. Unlike standard surfactants, these molecules can be thermally degraded and easily removed in an inexpensive, environmentally benign manner. The anionic surfactants can be used to reduce foaming in a wide range of applications but because they are degradable and easy to remove they would not present the usual environmental problems of soaps and other surfactants.