American Chemical Society
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Surface Adsorption of Oppositely Charged C14TAB-PAMPS Mixtures at the Air/Water Interface and the Impact on Foam Film Stability

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-01-08, 00:00 authored by Heiko Fauser, Regine von Klitzing, Richard A. Campbell
We have studied the oppositely charged polyelectrolyte/surfactant mixture of poly­(acrylamidomethylpropanesulfonate) sodium salt (PAMPS) and tetradecyl trimethylammonium bromide (C14TAB) using a combination of neutron reflectivity and ellipsometry measurements. The interfacial composition was determined using three different analysis methods involving the two techniques for the first time. The bulk surfactant concentration was fixed at a modest value while the bulk polyelectrolyte concentration was varied over a wide range. We reveal complex changes in the surface adsorption behavior. Mixtures with low bulk PAMPS concentrations result in the components interacting synergistically in charge neutral layers at the air/water interface. At the bulk composition where PAMPS and C14TAB are mixed in an equimolar charge ratio in the bulk, we observe a dramatic drop in the surfactant surface excess to leave a large excess of polyelectrolyte at the interface, which we infer to have loops in its interfacial structure. Further increase of the bulk PAMPS concentration leads to a more pronounced depletion of material from the surface. Mixtures containing a large excess of PAMPS in the bulk showed enhanced adsorption, which is attributed to the large increase in total ionic strength of the system and screening of the surfactant headgroup charges. The data are compared to our former results on PAMPS/C14TAB mixtures [Kristen et al. J. Phys. Chem. B, 2009, 23, 7986]. A peak in the surface tension is rationalized in terms of the changing surface adsorption and, unlike in more concentrated systems, is unrelated to bulk precipitation. Also, a comparison between the determined interfacial composition with zeta potential and foam film stability data shows that the highest film stability occurs when there is enhanced synergistic adsorption of both components at the interface due to charge screening when the total ionic strength of the system is highest. The additional contribution to the foam stability of the negatively charged polyelectrolyte within the film bulk is also discussed.