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Surfactant/Nonionic Copolymer Interaction:  A SLS, DLS, ITC, and NMR Investigation

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journal contribution
posted on 15.12.2005, 00:00 by Pablo Taboada, Emilio Castro, Víctor Mosquera
The interactions between an oxyphenylethylene−oxyethylene nonionic diblock copolymer with the anionic surfactant sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) have been studied in dilute aqueous solutions by static and dynamic light scattering (SLS and DLS, respectively), isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC), and 13C and self-diffusion nuclear magnetic resonance techniques. The studied copolymer, S20E67, where S denotes the hydrophobic styrene oxide unit and E the hydrophilic oxyethylene unit, forms micelles of 15.6 nm at 25 °C, whose core is formed by the styrene oxide chains surrounded by a water swollen polyoxyethylene corona. The S20E67/SDS system has been investigated at a copolymer concentration of 2.5 g dm-3, for which the copolymer is fully micellized, and with varying surfactant concentration up to approximately 0.15 M. When SDS is added to the solution, two different types of complexes are observed at various surfactant concentrations. From SLS and DLS it can be seen that, at low SDS concentrations, a copolymer-rich surfactant mixed micelle or complex is formed after association of SDS molecules to block copolymer micelles. These interactions give rise to a strong decrease in both light scattering intensity and hydrodynamic radius of the mixed micelles, which has been ascribed to an effective reduction of the complex size, and also an effect arising from the increasing electrostatic repulsion of charged surfactant−copolymer micelles. At higher surfactant concentrations, the copolymer-rich surfactant micelles progressively are destroyed to give surfactant-rich−copolymer micelles, which would be formed by a surfactant micelle bound to one or very few copolymer unimers. ITC data seem to confirm the results of light scattering, showing the dehydration and rehydration processes accompanying the formation and subsequent destruction of the copolymer-rich surfactant mixed micelles. The extent of interaction between the copolymer and the surfactant is seen to involve as much as carbon 3 (C3) of the SDS molecule. Self-diffusion coefficients corroborated light scattering data.