Rheological dynamics and structural characteristics of supramolecular assemblies of β-cyclodextrin and sulfonic surfactants†
Cyclodextrins are highly functional compounds with a hydrophobic cavity capable of forming supramolecular inclusion complexes with various classes of molecules including surfactants. The resultant rich nanostructures and their dynamics are an interesting research problem in the area of soft condensed matter and related applications. Herein, we report novel dynamical supramolecular assemblies based on the complexation of β-cyclodextrin with 3 different sulfonic surfactants, which are sodium hexadecylsulfate, sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate, and myristyl sulfobetaine. It was observed that a β-cyclodextrin : surfactant/2 : 1 molar ratio was ideal for inducing axial growth and imparting large viscosities in the suspensions. Such complexation processes were accompanied by intriguing nanostructural phase behaviors and rheological properties that were very sensitive to the molecular architecture of sulfonic surfactants. The presence of an amino group in the head group of the surfactant allowed for large viscosities that reached 2.4 × 104 Pa s which exhibited gel-like behavior. In contrast, smaller viscosity values with a lower consistency index were observed when a bulky aromatic ring was present instead. DIC microscopy was used to visually probe the microstructure of the systems with respect to sulfonate molecular architecture. Additionally, surface tension measurements, and FTIR and NMR spectroscopies were used to gain insights into the nature of interactions that lead to the complexation and nanostructural characteristics. Finally, mechanics correlating the supramolecular morphologies to the rheological properties were proposed.