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Entropy 2014, 16(8), 4375-4391; doi:10.3390/e16084375

An Energetic Analysis of the Phase Separation in Non-Ionic Surfactant Mixtures: The Role of the Headgroup Structure

Department of Applied Physics II, Engineering School, University of Malaga, Malaga 29071, Spain
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Received: 31 March 2014 / Revised: 24 June 2014 / Accepted: 30 July 2014 / Published: 4 August 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Applied Thermodynamics)
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Abstract

The main goal of this paper was to examine the effect of the hydrophilic surfactant headgroup on the phase behavior of non-ionic surfactant mixtures. Four mixed systems composed of an ethoxylated plus sugar-based surfactants, each having the same hydrophobic tail, were investigated. We found that the hydrophilicity of the surfactant inhibits the tendency of the system to phase separate, which is sensitive to the presence of NaCl. Applying a classical phase separation thermodynamic model, the corresponding energy parameters were evaluated. In all cases, the parameters were found to depend on the type of nonionic surfactant, its concentration in the micellar solution and the presence of NaCl in the medium. The experimental results can be explained by assuming the phase separation process takes place as a result of reduced hydration of the surfactant headgroup caused by a temperature increase. The enthalpy-entropy compensation plot exhibits excellent linearity. We found that all the mixed surfactant systems coincided on the same straight line, the compensation temperature being lower in the presence of NaCl. View Full-Text
Keywords: mixed micelles; phase separation; thermodynamic parameters; n-decyl-β-d-maltoside; N-decanoyl-N-methylglucamide; pentaoxyethylene monodecyl ether; hexaoxyethylene monodecyl ether mixed micelles; phase separation; thermodynamic parameters; n-decyl-β-d-maltoside; N-decanoyl-N-methylglucamide; pentaoxyethylene monodecyl ether; hexaoxyethylene monodecyl ether
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Hierrezuelo, J.M.; Molina-Bolívar, J.A.; Ruiz, C.C. An Energetic Analysis of the Phase Separation in Non-Ionic Surfactant Mixtures: The Role of the Headgroup Structure. Entropy 2014, 16, 4375-4391.

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