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What is ammonium lauryl sulfate?

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Ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS) is the common name for ammonium dodecyl sulfate. The molecule consists of a long nonpolar hydrocarbon chain and a polar sulfate end group, the combination of which make the material a surfactant. These two components allow the compound to dissolve among both polar and non-polar molecules.


ALS is classified as an alkyl sulfate and is an anionic surfactant found primarily in shampoos and body-wash as a foaming agent. Lauryl sulfates are very high-foam surfactants that disrupt the surface tension of water in part by forming micelles around the highly polar water molecules at the surface-air interface.