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Adv Colloid Interface Sci. 2010 Dec 15;161(1-2):77-88. doi: 10.1016/j.cis.2009.11.004. Epub 2010 Jan 15.

Thermodynamics and kinetics of vesicles formation processes.

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  • 1Procter & Gamble, Pomezia R&D Research Center, Via Ardeatina 100, 00040 Pomezia, Italy. guida.v@pg.com

Abstract

Vesicles are hollow aggregates, composed of bilayers of amphiphilic molecules, dispersed into and filled with a liquid solvent. These aggregates can be formed either as equilibrium or as out of equilibrium meta-stable structures and they exhibit a rich variety of different morphologies. The surprising richness of structures, the vast range of industrial applications and the presence of vesicles in a number of biological systems have attracted the interest of numerous researchers and scientists. In this article, we review both the thermodynamics and the kinetics aspects of the phenomena of formation of vesicles. We start presenting the thermodynamics of bilayer membranes formation and deformation, with the aim of deriving the conditions for the existence of equilibrium vesicles. Specifically, we use the results from continuum thermodynamics to discuss the possibility of formation of stable equilibrium vesicles, from both mixed amphiphiles and single component systems. We also link the bilayer membrane properties to the molecular structure of the starting amphiphiles. In the second part of this article, we focus on the dynamics and kinetics of vesiculation. We review the process of vesicles formation both from planar lamellar phase under shear and from isotropic micelles. In order to clarify the physical mechanisms of vesicles formation, we continuously draw a parallel between emulsification and vesiculation processes. Specifically, we compare the experimental results, the driving forces and the relative scaling laws identified for the two processes. Describing the dynamics of vesicles formation, we also discuss why non equilibrium vesicles can be formed by kinetics control and why they are meta-stable. Understanding how to control the properties, the stability and the formation process of vesicles is of fundamental importance for a vast number of industrial applications.

PMID:
20079476
DOI:
10.1016/j.cis.2009.11.004
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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