Structure-Property Relationships of Surfactants at Interfaces and Polyelectrolyte-Surfactant Aggregates

Abstract: The first part of this thesis is concerned with thestructure-property relationships in nonionic surfactantsystems. The main aim was to investigate how the surfactantstructure influences the adsorption at interfaces andinteractions between surfactant coated interfaces.Particularly, the effect of the structure of the surfactantheadgroups was investigated. These were sugar-based headgroupwith varying size and flexibility and poly(ethylene oxide)based headgroups with or without an additional amide or estergroup. The hydrophobic part of the surfactant consisted mostlyof straight alkyl chains, except for one type of poly(ethyleneoxide) based surfactant with a dehydroabietic hydrophobe.The main technique that was used is the surface forcetechnique, with which the forces acting between two adsorbedsurfactant layers on hydrophilic or hydrophobic surfaces can bemeasured. These forces are important for e.g. the stability ofdispersions. The hydrophilic surfaces employed were glass andmica, whereas the hydrophobic surfaces were silanized glass andhydrophobized mica. The adsorption behavior on hydrophilicsurfaces is highly dependent on the type of headgroup andsurface, whereas similar results were obtained on the two typesof hydrophobic surfaces. To better understand how the surfaceforces are affected by the surfactant structure, measurementsof adsorbed amount and theoretical mean-field latticecalculations were carried out. The results show that the sugarsurfactant layers and poly(ethylene oxide) surfactant layersgive rise to very different surface forces, but that the forcesare more similar within each group. The structure-propertyrelationships for many other physical properties have beenstudied as well. These include equilibrium and dynamicadsorption at the liquid-vapor interface, micelle size, micelledynamics, and wetting.The second part in this thesis is about the aggregationbetween cationic polyelectrolytes and an anionic surfactant.The surface force technique was used to study the adsorption ofa low charged cationic polyelectrolyte on mica, and theaggregation between the adsorbed polyelectrolyte with theanionic surfactant. The aggregation in bulk was studied withturbidimetry, small angle neutron scattering (SANS), and smallangle x-ray scattering (SAXS). An internal hexagonal aggregatestructure was found for some of the bulk aggregates.Keywords:nonionic surfactant, sugar surfactant,poly(ethylene oxide), amide, ester, polyelectrolyte, SDS,hydrophobic surface, glass surface, mica, adsorption,aggregation, micelle size, surface forces, wetting, dynamicsurface tension, NMR, TRFQ, SANS, SAXS, mean-field latticecalculations.