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Structure and Phase Equilibria of the Soybean Lecithin/PEG 40 Monostearate/Water System

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journal contribution
posted on 26.11.2013, 00:00 by G. Montalvo, R. Pons, G. Zhang, M. Díaz, M. Valiente
PEG stearates are extensively used as emulsifiers in many lipid-based formulations. However, the scheme of the principles of the lipid–surfactant polymer interactions are still poorly understood and need more studies. A new phase diagram of a lecithin/PEG 40 monostearate/water system at 30 °C is reported. First, we have characterized the binary PEG 40 monostearate/water system by the determination of the critical micelle concentration value and the viscous properties. Then, the ternary phase behavior and the influence of phase structure on their macroscopic properties are studied by a combination of different techniques, namely, optical microscopy, small-angle X-ray scattering, differential scanning calorimetry, and rheology. The phase behavior is complex, and some samples evolve even at long times. The single monophasic regions correspond to micellar, swollen lamellar, and lamellar gel phases. The existence of extended areas of phase coexistence (hexagonal, cubic, and lamellar liquid crystalline phases) may be a consequence of the low miscibility of S40P in the lecithin bilayer as well as of the segregation of the phospholipid polydisperse hydrophobic chains. The presence of the PEG 40 monostearate has less effect in the transformation to the cubic phase for lecithin than that found in other systems with simple glycerol-based lipids.