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Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2007 Jul 28;9(28):3776-85. Epub 2007 May 18.

Relation between the hydrophile/hydrophobe ratio of malonamide extractants and the stability of the organic phase: investigation at high extractant concentrations.

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CEA, DSM/DRECAM/SCM/LIONS CEA-Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, Cedex, France.


In the present paper, it is shown that in malonamide extractant/dodecane mixtures, change in the shape of the extractant aggregate may promote phase demixion. This phenomenon is known as the 3rd phase formation in extractant systems. The shape of the aggregates is dictated by the length of the alkyl chains stabilizing the reverse microemulsion by steric repulsion. Small angle scattering experiments are used to investigate the aggregation states of diamide extractant molecules, namely N,N'dimethyl-N,N'dibutyl-tetradecyl malonamide (DMDBTDMA) and N,N'dimethyl-N,N'dibutyl-pentyl malonamide (DMDBPMA), in dodecane. The results are described in a consistent way by the packing parameter concept and by expressing steric repulsion versus Van der Waals inter-aggregate interactions, both curvature dependants. Non-monotonous change in the extractant Critical Micellar Concentration (CMC) as a function of the extractant alkyl chain length is rationalized by comparing Van der Waals attraction between the alkyl chains of both the extractant and the solvent.

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