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Physical chemistry chemical physics : PCCP

Crystalline structure and thermotropic behavior of alkyltrimethylphosphonium amphiphiles.


PMID 28119974

Abstract

Quaternary organophosphonium salts bearing long alkyl chains are cationic surfactants of interest owing to their physical and biological properties. In the present work, the crystal structure and thermotropic behavior of the homologous series of alkyltrimethylphosphonium bromides (nATMP·Br), with the alkyl chain containing an even number (n) of carbon atoms from 12 to 22, have been examined within the 0-300 °C range of temperatures. These compounds were shown to be resistant to heat up to ∼390 °C. The phases adopted at different temperatures were detected by DSC, and the structural changes involved in the phase transitions have been characterized by simultaneous WAXS and SAXS carried out in real-time, and by polarizing optical microscopy as well. Three or four phases were identified for n = 12 and 14 or n ≥ 16, respectively, in agreement with the heat exchange peaks observed by DSC. The phase existing at room temperature (Ph-I) was found to be fully crystalline and its crystal lattice was determined by single-crystal X-ray diffraction methods. Ph-II consisted of a semicrystalline structure that can be categorized as Smectic-B with the crystallized ionic pairs hexagonally arranged in layers and the molten alkyl chain confined in the interlayer space. Ph-II of 12ATMP·Br and 14ATMP·Br directly isotropicized upon heating at ∼220 °C, whereas for n ≥ 16, it converted into a Smectic-A phase (Ph-III) that needed to be heated above ∼240 °C to become isotropic (Ph-Is). The correlation existing between the thermal behavior, phase structure and length of the alkyl side chain has been demonstrated.

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