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Langmuir. 2004 Sep 28;20(20):8552-8.

Abnormal micellar growth in sugar-based and ethoxylated nonionic surfactants and their mixtures in dilute regimes using analytical ultracentrifugation.

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Langmuir Center for Colloids and Interfaces, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA.


To develop structure-property relationships for surfactants that control their adsorption, solubilization, and micellization behavior in mixed systems and to develop predictive models based on such relationships, it is necessary to acquire quantitative information on various species present in these complex systems. The analytical ultracentrifugation technique is selected for the first time to characterize the species present in mixed micellar solutions due to its powerful ability to separate particles on the basis of their size and shape. Two nonionic surfactants, n-dodecyl-beta-D-maltoside (DM) and nonyl phenol ethoxylated decyl ether (NP-10), and their 1:1 molar ratio mixture were investigated in this study. Micelles of the nonionic surfactants and their mixture are asymmetrical in shape at the critical micelle concentration (cmc). Interestingly, unlike ionic surfactants, the micellar growths of the nonionic surfactants were found to occur at concentrations immediately above the cmc. The results from both sedimentation velocity and sedimentation equilibrium experiments suggest coexistence of two types of micelles in nonyl phenol ethoxylated decyl ether solutions and in its mixture with n-dodecyl-beta-D-maltoside, while only one micellar species is present in n-dodecyl-beta-D-maltoside solutions. Type 1 micelles were primary micelles at the cmc, while type 2 micelles were elongated micelles. The differences in the micellar shapes of n-dodecyl-beta-D-maltoside and nonyl phenol ethoxylated decyl ether are attributed to packing parameters detected by their molecular structures.


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