Quats and Amines

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Quaternary ammonium cations, better known as quats, and amines are modified ammonia compounds that have some of their hydrogen replaced with other compounds. As the name “quaternary” would imply, quats have all 4 hydrogens of ammonium replaced with an alkali or aryl compound; amines can be further subdivided into primary, secondary, or tertiary, depending on whether they have had 1, 2, or 3 of the 4 hydrogens in their base ammonia replaced. Quat and amine compounds are typically unreactive, stable, and resilient.

Quats find their main use in personal care items, shampoos and conditioners, soaps and cosmetics, hairspray and mousse. Their antimicrobial and disinfectant properties make them ideal for use in soaps and detergents of all sorts, and their softening quality add a degree of smoothness and moisturizing ability to the products they enhance. Amines are most commonly found in various pharmaceuticals, where the mimic the actions of natural amine neurotransmitters. Amines are the building blocks of many antihistamines and decongestants, and some tranquilizers and antidepressants.

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