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Issue 44, 2010
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The influence of micelle formation on the stability of colloid surfactant mixtures

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Abstract

The stability of colloidal dispersions can be severely affected by the presence of surfactants. Because surfactants can adsorb at colloidal surfaces as well as form micelles, one can expect an interplay between both phenomena. Using grand-canonical coarse-grained Monte Carlo simulations on surfactant solutions confined between two surfaces, we investigate how adsorption and micelle formation affects the effective interaction between two colloidal particles, and hence, the stability of the colloidal dispersion. For solvophilic colloidal surfaces, we observe a short-ranged oscillatory solvation pressure that is hardly affected by the presence of surfactants in the system. The effective surface–surface interaction, however, reveals a decrease in solvophilic stabilization as a function of surfactant chemical potential. For solvophobic surfaces, we find that the capillary evaporation observed in a confined pure solvent, is counteracted by the addition of surfactants. Around the critical micelle concentration (CMC), the surface–surface interaction even becomes repulsive, enhancing stabilization of the colloidal dispersion. In contrast, the formation of micelles at concentrations above the CMC causes an additional depletion effect, resulting in an effective attraction, which in turn can destabilize a colloidal dispersion.

Graphical abstract: The influence of micelle formation on the stability of colloid surfactant mixtures

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Article information


Submitted
17 Jun 2010
Accepted
14 Sep 2010
First published
14 Oct 2010

Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2010,12, 14789-14797
Article type
Paper

The influence of micelle formation on the stability of colloid surfactant mixtures

R. Pool and P. G. Bolhuis, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2010, 12, 14789
DOI: 10.1039/C0CP00912A

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