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Title: Investigating the morphological transitions in an associative surfactant ternary system
Associative surfactants systems involving polar oils have recently been shown to stabilize immiscible liquids by forming nanostructures at the liquid interface and have been used to print soft materials. Although these associating surfactant systems show great promise for creating nanostructured soft materials, a fundamental understanding of the self-assembly process is still unknown. In this study, a ternary phase diagram for a system of cationic surfactant cetylpyridinium chloride monohydrate (CPCl), a polar oil (oleic acid), and water is established using experiment and simulation, to study the equilibrium phase behavior. A combination of visual inspection, small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), and rheological measurements was employed to establish the phase behavior and properties of the self-assembled materials. Dissipative particle dynamics (DPD) is used to simulate the formation of the morphologies in this system and support the experimental results. The ternary phase diagram obtained from the simulations agrees with the experimental results, indicating the robustness of the computational simulation as a supplement to the mesoscale experimental systems. We observe that morphological transitions ( e.g. , micelle-to-bilayer and vesicle-to-lamellar) are in agreement between experiments and simulations across the ternary diagram. DPD simulations correctly predict that associative surfactant systems form new nanoscale phases due to the co-assembly of the components. The established ternary phase diagram and the DPD model pave the way towards predicting and controlling the formation of different mesostructures like lamellar or vesicles, opening new avenues to tailor and synthesize desired morphologies for applications related to liquid-in-liquid 3D printing.  more » « less
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Date Published:
Journal Name:
Soft Matter
Page Range / eLocation ID:
2611 to 2633
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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