HLB Scale

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Entry by Andrew Capulli

HLB Scale: Hydrophilic-Lipophilic Balance

HLB Scale

Developed by Griffin (1949), the HLB Scale ranks the tendency of a surfactant to be hydrophilic or hydrophobic (lipophilic). Since a surfactant molecule has both hydrophilic and hydrophobic portions (that's why its a surfactant!) Griffin developed a ranking system to determine 'how hydrophilic' and 'how hydrophobic' a surfactant is. Surfactants generally have hydrophobic hydrocarbon chains with hydrophilic branches or ends.

To summarize:

  • The HLB Scale ranges 1-20
  • Surfactants with higher HLB numbers (greater than 10) are more hydrophilic
  • Surfactants with lower HLB number (less than 10) are more hydrophobic (lipophilic)



Keyword in references:

Amphiphilic Crescent-Moon-Shaped Microparticles Formed by Selective Adsorption of Colloids