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Sulfonic acid salts refer to those anions that have the general formula RSO2O? are and are also referred to as sulfonates, wherein R is alkyl, aryl or any other organic moiety. Organic sulfonic salts serve as anionic surface-active agents and are therefore widely used in the detergent industry. Unlike ordinary soaps, soaps containing organic sulfonic salts do not form insoluble salts with calcium and magnesium ions and hence they do not form scum in hard water. In the petroleum industry, they are also employed as emulsion breakers. They also find application as electrolytes in Zinc-cerium and lead-acid flow batteries. They are important intermediates in the preparation of dyes and chemicals for electroplating.
Sulfonic acid salts find utility in drug development. In pharmaceuticals, drug substances presented as sulfonic acid salts ensure that the resultant drug product exhibit less plastic deformation while processing. Unlike other strong acid salts, sulfonate salts do not have the propensity to form hydrates, making them suitable for secondary processing like wet granulation. Moreover, such salts are stable and do not suffer from disproportionation reactions encountered in other salts (Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 2009, 61: 269û278).
They also find utility in photoimaging and as an etching agent for compound semi-conductiors and ceramics.