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The Adsorption Behavior of Ionic Surfactants and Their Mixtures with Nonionic Polymers and with Polyelectrolytes of Opposite Charge at the Air–Water Interface

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journal contribution
posted on 13.03.2014, 00:00 by Alireza Bahramian, Robert K. Thomas, Jeffrey Penfold
The surface phase approach of Butler has been used to derive a model of the surface tension (ST) of surfactant solutions in terms of the ST of the surfactant in the absence of water, an area parameter corresponding approximately to the limiting area per molecule, and the critical micelle concentration (CMC). This isotherm is then used to account for the ST behavior of aqueous solutions of weakly interacting polymer–surfactant (P–S) and strongly interacting polyelectrolyte–surfactant (PE–S) mixtures. For P–S systems, no additional parameters are required other than the critical aggregation concentration (CAC) and the onset of the ST plateau at micellization (T3). The model accounts for experimental isotherms for sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) with poly­(ethylene oxide) or poly­(vinylpyrrolidone). For PE–S systems, the initial CAC has no effect on the ST and is well below the decrease in ST that leads to the first ST plateau at T1. This decrease is modeled approximately using a Langmuir isotherm. The remaining ST behavior is analyzed with the model surfactant isotherm and includes modeling the ST when there is separation into two phases. The behavior in the phase separation region depends on the dissociability of the PE–S complex. Loss of surface activity accompanied by a peak in the ST may occur when there is part formation of a nondissociable complex (neutral with segment/surfactant = 1). The model successfully explains the ST of several experimental systems with and without ST peaks, including poly­(dimethyldiallylammonium chloride)–SDS and poly­(sodium styrenesulfonate)–alkyltrimethylammonium bromide (CnTAB) with n = 12, 14, and 16.