Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonic Acid (LABSA): A Surfactant - WorldOfChemicals

Linear Alkyl Benzene Sulphonic Acid - LABSA


Linear alkyl benzene sulphonic acid, also known as LABSA is a synthetic chemical surfactant, which is a widely used industrial detergent. It is used in washing powder, detergent powder, oil soap, cleaning powder and detergent cake.



LABSA is an anionic surfactant, whose molecules are characterized by a hydrophilic and a hydrophobic group. This nonvolatile chemical compound is synthesized through the process of sulfonation. The sulfonation reagents include sulfuric acid, chlorosulfonic acid, sulfamic acid and diluted sulfur trioxide.

The properties of LABSA, differs in chemical and physical properties based on the length of the alkyl chain. This results in formulations, which finds many applications. The resulting surfactants are used in the chemical industry to improve contact between water and minerals.



LABSA is chiefly used in the detergent industry for the manufacture of washing powder, detergent powder, detergent cake, liquid soap, oil soap, scouring bar and cleaning powder. This chemical finds applications in anionic specialty formulations. The quality of pesticide sprays can be improved from it.

Linear alkyl benzene sulphonic acid is used as a washing and mercerizing agent in the textile industry.  The surface area of distempers is increased using LABSA. It is used as a wetting agent as well as an emulsifier in small quantities along with other surfactants, for foaming of toilet soaps.

Owing to its high active matter content and miscibility with low salt content and water, LABSA is used in the polymerization of emulsions and in production of coupling agents, emulsifiers, agricultural herbicides, household and industrial cleaners.


Environmental and Safety Considerations

Most anionic surfactants including LABSA are nontoxic in nature. However, prolonged exposure to these surfactants, could irritate and damage the skin through the disruption of the lipid membrane, which protects the skin and other cells. On the other hand, the biodegradability is determined by surfactant's hydrophobic hydrocarbon group.



Linear Alkyl Benzene Sulphonic Acid is one of the largest synthetic surfactants by volume due to its low cost and high performance. Apart from this, LABSA can be dried to a stable powder form. This chemical is biodegradable and environmentally friendly.


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