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Reverse Hexosome Dispersions in AlkanesThe Challenge of Inverting Structures

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journal contribution
posted on 14.06.2018 by Franz Pirolt, Otto Glatter, Gregor Trimmel
Monoglycerides form lipophilic liquid-crystalline (LC) phases when mixed with water. The corresponding LC nanostructures coexist with excess water, which is a necessary condition for the formation of internally nanostructured dispersed particles. These nanostructures comprise bicontinuous cubic phases, inverted hexagonal phases, and inverted micellar cubic phases. The dispersed particles are therefore named cubosomes, hexosomes, or micellar cubosomes. Such dispersions are usually stabilized by hydrophilic high-molecular-weight triblock (TB) copolymers. Another way to stabilize such dispersions is by forming the so-called Pickering or Ramsden emulsions using nanoparticles as stabilizers. In this contribution, we explore the possibility of forming and stabilizing inverted or reverse systems, that is, dispersions of hydrophilic LC phases in an excess oil phase like tetradecane. Our aim was to change from oil-in-water emulsions to water-in-oil emulsions, where the water phase is a LC phase in equilibrium with excess oil and where the oil is nonpolar, for example, an alkane. This work consists of three parts: (1) to find a hexagonal hydrophilic LC phase that can not only incorporate a certain amount of tetradecane but can also coexist with excess tetradecane in the case of higher oil concentration, (2) to find a suitable stabilizereither polymeric or nanoparticle typethat can stabilize the emulsion without destroying the hexagonal LC phase, and finally (3) to check the stability of this reverse hexosome emulsion. We discovered that it is possible to create a hexagonal hydrophilic LC phase with short-chain nonionic surfactants such as polyethylene glycol alkyl ethers or with high-molecular-weight TB copolymers of type A–B–A. Furthermore, it is possible to successfully stabilize the reverse hexosomes with low hydrophilic–lipophilic balance TB copolymerseither synthesized in our laboratory or commercially available onesas well as with hydrophobized, commercially available silica nanoparticles.

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