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Soft matter

The wetting behavior of aqueous surfactant solutions on wheat (Triticum aestivum) leaf surfaces.


PMID 27934995

Abstract

In this research the wetting behavior of agro-surfactant solutions (Triton X-100, SDS, DTAB) on wheat leaf surfaces have been investigated based on the surface free energy, surface tension, and the contact angle. The results show that the contact angle of those surfactant solutions keeps constant with low adsorption at interfaces below 1 × 10(-5) mol L(-1). With the increase in concentration, the contact angles of Triton X-100 decrease sharply because the adsorption of molecules at solid-liquid interfaces (ΓSL') is several times greater than that at liquid-air interfaces (ΓLV). With regards to SDS and DTAB, the contact angle also decreases but is even larger than 90° above the CMC, while the ratio of ΓSL' to ΓLV is about 1.20, demonstrating that the Gibbs surface excess is related to the structure of surfactant molecules. Obviously, besides the properties of wheat leaf surfaces and surfactant solutions, the wetting behavior mainly depends on their noncovalent interactions. Among these, the hydrophobic interaction is the main force promoting molecules to adsorb on the surface, with the assistance of the Lifshitz-van der Waals interactions and the electrostatic interactions. According to the mechanism of their wetting behavior on plant surfaces, the recipe of pesticide formulation can be adjusted with better wettability to reduce its loss, consequently improving pesticide utilization and decreasing environmental contamination.