1. n. [Enhanced Oil Recovery, Drilling Fluids]
A chemical that preferentially adsorbs at an interface, lowering the surface tension or interfacial tension between fluids or between a fluid and a solid. This term encompasses a multitude of materials that function as emulsifiers, dispersants, oil-wetters, water-wetters, foamers and defoamers. The type of surfactant behavior depends on the structural groups on the molecule (or mixture of molecules). Hydrophile-lipophile balance (HLB) number helps define the function that a molecular group will perform.
See: amides, amines, breaker, cloud point, defoamer, dispersant, drilling detergent, emulsifier, foaming agent, gas hydrate, HLB number, hydrophile-lipophile balance number, hydrophilic, interfacial tension, lyophilic, lyophobic, quaternary amine, spotting fluid, surface tension