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The journal of physical chemistry. B

Phase behavior and kinetics of phase separation of a nonionic microemulsion of C12E5/water/1-chlorotetradecane upon a temperature quench.


PMID 19438277

Abstract

The phase behavior and phase separation kinetics of a model ternary nonionic microemulsion system composed of pentaethylene glycol dodecyl ether (C12E5), water, and 1-chlorotetradecane were studied. With increasing temperature, the microemulsion exhibits the following rich phase behavior: oil-in-water phase (L1+O), droplet microemulsion phase (L1), lamellar liquid crystalline phase (Lproportional), and sponge-like (liquid) phase (L3). The microemulsion with a fixed surfactant-to-oil volume fraction ratio (Phis/Phio) of 0.81 and droplet volume fraction of 0.087 was perturbed from equilibrium by a temperature quench from the L1 region (24 degrees C) to an unstable region L1+O (13 degrees C), where the excess oil phase is in equilibrium with the microemulsion droplets. The process of phase separation in the unstable region was followed by time-resolved small-angle X-ray scattering (TR-SAXS) and time-resolved turbidity methods. Due to the large range of scattering vector (q=0.004-0.22 A(-1)) that is possible to access with the TR-SAXS method, the growth of the oil droplets and shrinking of the microemulsion droplets as a result of phase separation could be studied simultaneously. By using an advanced polydisperse ellipsoidal hard-sphere model, the experimental curves have been quantitatively analyzed. The microemulsion droplets were modeled as polydisperse core-shell ellipsoidal particles, using molecular constraints, and the oil droplets are modeled as polydisperse spheres. The radius of gyration (Rg) of the growing oil droplets, volume fraction of oil in the microemulsion droplets, and polydispersity were obtained from the fit parameters. The volume equivalent radius at the neutral plane between the surfactant head and tail of the microemulsion droplet decreased from 76 to 51 A, while the radius of oil drop increased to 217 A within the 160 min of the experiment. After about 48 min from the temperature quench, the system reaches a steady state and continues to coarsen at a constant fraction of the oil of 0.51 in the oil phase by Ostwald ripening with the power law dependence of Roil proportional, variant t1/3. The size of the oil droplets determined by the time-resolved turbidity method is in good agreement with that of the TR-SAXS, highlighting the usefulness of the method in the size determination of oil-in-water microemulsions on an absolute scale.

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252239
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