Betaines belong to the group of organic chemical compounds. They are dual ions with separated negatively and positively charged sections. An important characteristic of theirs is that an atom that carries a positive charge may not have hydrogen atoms attached, and the effective charge of the entire molecule is 0. Popular betaines are ammonium and phosphonium compounds, which means they contain nitrogen or phosphorus cations, respectively.
Betaines are distinguished by their excellent foam forming ability, as well as thickening properties. They provide foam stability and have a mitigating effect on the irritating qualities of ingredients of certain formulations, e.g. cosmetics. Of course, they also possess superior cleaning properties.
These compounds have a number of applications, e.g. in detergents, cosmetics, hygiene products, various foaming agents, in drilling fluids, in inks for printing on textiles, and in many others.
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