Assembly of small molecule surfactants at highly dynamic air-water interfaces

Date

2017-11-10

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Publisher

Royal Society of Chemistry

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Article

Peer reviewed

Abstract

Small-angle neutron scattering has been used to probe the interfacial structure of foams stabilised by small molecule surfactants at concentrations well below their critical micelle concentration. The data for wet foams showed a pronounced Q−4 dependence at low Q and noticeable inflexions over the mid Q range. These features were found to be dependent on the surfactant structure (mainly the alkyl chain length) with various inflexions across the measured Q range as a function of the chain length but independent of factors such as concentration and foam age/height. By contrast, foam stability (for C < CMC) was significantly different at this experimental range. Drained foams showed different yet equally characteristic features, including additional peaks attributed to the formation of classical micellar structures. Together, these features suggest the dynamic air–water interface is not as simple as often depicted, indeed the data have been successfully described by a model consisting paracrystalline stacks (multilayer) of adsorbed surfactant layers; a structure that we believe is induced by the dynamic nature of the air–water interface in a foam.

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Citation

Mansour, O. T. et al. (2017) Assembly of small molecule surfactants at highly dynamic air-water interfaces. Soft Matter, 13, pp. 8807-8815

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Research Institute

Leicester Institute for Pharmaceutical Innovation - From Molecules to Practice (LIPI)