Effect of Oligomerization of Counterions on Water Activity in Aqueous Cationic Surfactant Systems

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A sorption calorimetry study of cationic cetyltrimethyl ammonium surfactants with four different counterions was performed. The counterions were acetate, succinate, citrate, and butyl tetracarboxylate with formal charges ranging from 1 to 4, respectively. The counterions with 2-4 charges can be considered as oligomers. In all the cases, hydration experiments started with dry solid phases that upon water uptake went through solid-state phase transitions and hexagonal to micellar cubic phase transitions. It was found that in liquid-crystalline phases the activity of water increased with the degree of oligomerization or, equivalently, the formal charge of the counterions. The results are discussed in terms of the forces acting between the colloidal aggregates. It is argued that under the conditions investigated, the so-called strong-coupling theory can be used to describe the electrostatic forces between the charged colloidal objects. Therefore, we suggest that the observed dependence of water activity on the degree of polymerization is due to the entropy of mixing of the counterions in the water volume, which we describe using Flory-Huggins theory.


External organisations
  • Malmö University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Chemistry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6961-6968
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number28
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul 21
Publication categoryResearch