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J Colloid Interface Sci. 2013 Dec 1;411:152-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jcis.2013.08.034. Epub 2013 Sep 3.

Physicochemical investigation of mixed surfactant microemulsions: water solubilization, thermodynamic properties, microstructure, and dynamics.

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Department of Chemistry, University of North Bengal, Darjeeling 734 013, India.


In this contribution, we report on a systematic investigation of phase behavior and solubilization of water in water-in-heptane or decane aggregates stabilized by mixtures of polyoxyethylene (20) cetyl ether (Brij-58) and cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) surfactants with varying compositions in conjugation with 1-pentanol (Pn) at fixed surfactant(s)/Pn ratio and temperature. Synergism in water solubilization was evidenced by the addition of CTAB to Brij-58 stabilized system in close proximity of equimolar composition in both oils. An attempt has been made to correlate composition dependent water solubilization and volume induced conductivity studies to provide insight into the solubilization mechanism of these mixed systems. Conductivity studies reveal the ascending curve in water solubilization capacity-(Brij-58:CTAB, w/w) profile as the interdroplet interaction branch indicating percolation of conductance and the descending curve is a curvature branch due to the rigidity of the interface in these systems. The microstructure of these systems as a function of surfactant composition has been determined by dynamic light scattering (DLS) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) measurements. FTIR study reveals increase and decrease in relative population of bound and bulk-like water, respectively, with increase in Brij-58:CTAB (w/w). DLS measurements showed that the droplet hydrodynamic diameter (Dh) decreases significantly with the increase in Brij-58:CTAB (w/w). Further, the interfacial composition and energetic parameters for the transfer of Pn from bulk oil to the interface were evaluated by the dilution method. Formation of temperature-insensitive microemulsions and temperature invariant droplet sizes are evidenced in the vicinity of the equimolar composition. The results are interpreted in terms of a proposed mechanism.


Conductance percolation; Droplet diameter; State of water; Synergism; Temperature-insensitive microemulsion; Thermodynamic parameter

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