- The influence of micelle formation on the stability of colloid surfactant mixtures
- Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
- Volume | Issue number
- 12 | 44
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS)
The stability of colloidal dispersions can be severely affected by the presence of surfactants. Because surfactants can adsorb at colloidal surfaces as well as form micelles, one can expect an interplay between both phenomena. Using grand-canonical coarse-grained Monte Carlo simulations on surfactant solutions confined between two surfaces, we investigate how adsorption and micelle formation affects the effective interaction between two colloidal particles, and hence, the stability of the colloidal dispersion. For solvophilic colloidal surfaces, we observe a short-ranged oscillatory solvation pressure that is hardly affected by the presence of surfactants in the system. The effective surface-surface interaction, however, reveals a decrease in solvophilic stabilization as a function of surfactant chemical potential. For solvophobic surfaces, we find that the capillary evaporation observed in a confined pure solvent, is counteracted by the addition of surfactants. Around the critical micelle concentration (CMC), the surface-surface interaction even becomes repulsive, enhancing stabilization of the colloidal dispersion. In contrast, the formation of micelles at concentrations above the CMC causes an additional depletion effect, resulting in an effective attraction, which in turn can destabilize a colloidal dispersion.
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