A novel combined chemical kinetic and trapping method for probing the relationships between chemical reactivity and interfacial H2O, Br− and H+ ion molarities in CTAB/C12E6 mixed micelles†
A delicate balance-of-forces governs the interactions responsible for surfactant self-assembly and chemical reactivity within them. Chemical reactions in micellar media generally occur in the interfacial region of micelles that is a complex mixture of: water, headgroups, counterions, co-ions, acids or bases, organic solvents, and the reactants themselves. We have carried out a detailed study of a complex chemical reaction in mixed CTAB/C12E6 micelles by using the chemical kinetic (CK) and chemical trapping (CT) methods. The results provide a detailed quantitative treatment of the reaction of the anion of the antioxidant t-butylhydroquinone, TBHQ−, with 4-hexadecylbenzenediazonium, 16-ArN2+, within the interfacial region of the mixed micelles in the C12E6 mole fraction range of 0 to 1 at three different total surfactant concentrations. CK experiments showed that this reaction is monophasic in C12E6 micelles, but biphasic in mixed micelles. The results were fully consistent with a complex mechanism in which TBHQ− reacts with 16-ArN2+ to give a transient diazoether intermediate that competitively breaks down into products and or reverts to starting materials. The kinetics are the same in mixed micelles of CTAB/C12E6 (grow) and CTAB/C12E8 (don’t grow) showing that the rates only depend on micelle composition, not shape. CT results provided estimates of interfacial molarities of H2O are approximately constant at ca. 39 and Br− decreases from ca. 2.75 to 0.05 moles per liter of interfacial volume as C12E6 mole fraction increases from 0 to 1. Combined CK/CT results provided values for interfacial pH, ranging from ca. 4.25 in cationic micelles to 1.5 in nonionic micelles despite a constant bulk pH of 1.5 and the TBHQ interfacial pKa = 3.8 at all C12E6 molar fractions. In totality, these results yielded an extraordinary amount of quantitative information about the relationships between the chemical reactivity and interfacial compositions of the mixed micelles.