Cationic surfactants have a long history of industrial use, and demand has been increasing rapidly year by year, but due to its special use as fungicides, fiber softeners and antistatic agents, it has a small demand compared to anionic and non-ionic surfactants. The development and use of cationic surfactants in China started very late, but its development rate is faster.However, due to the narrow range of application of cationic surfactants and the small amount of use, the output is very small. Until 2002, the annual output was still only a few thousand tons, which was less than 1% of the total output of various surfactants.
Cationic surfactants generally have good emulsifying, wetting, washing, sterilizing, softening, antistatic and anti-corrosive properties. Due to their special properties and applications, they have a good development potential both in industrial and civil applications.
Cationic surfactants have good bactericidal, softening, anti-static, anti-corrosive, and certain emulsifying and wetting properties, and are often used as phase transfer catalysts. However, such surfactants are rarely used as detergents alone because many substrates are usually negative in aqueous solutions, especially alkaline aqueous solutions. In addition, the main application areas of these surfactants are not like other surfactants, which are used to reduce the surface tension, its structural characteristics make them used for other special aspects. Based on the chemical structure of cationic surfactants, they can be divided into four types: amine salt type, quaternary ammonium salt type, heterocyclic type, and barium salt type.