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Microfluidic SAXS Study of Lamellar and Multilamellar Vesicle Phases of Linear Sodium Alkylbenzenesulfonate Surfactant with Intrinsic Isomeric Distribution

DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.6b01240 DOI Help

Authors: Andreas S. Poulos (Department of Chemical Engineering and ‡Department of Chemistry and Institute of Chemical Biology, Imperial College London) , Manuela Nania (Imperial College London) , Paul Lapham (The Procter & Gamble Company) , Ruhina Miller (Imperial College London) , Andrew J. Smith (Diamond Light Source) , Hossam Tantawy (The Procter & Gamble Company) , Joel Caragay (The Procter & Gamble Company) , Jérémie Gummel (The Procter & Gamble Company) , Oscar Ces (Department of Chemistry and Institute of Chemical Biology, Imperial College London) , Eric S. J. Robles (The Procter & Gamble Company) , Joao Cabral (Imperial College London)
Co-authored by industrial partner: Yes

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Langmuir , VOL 32 (23) , PAGES 5852–5861

State: Published (Approved)
Published: June 2016
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 9549

Abstract: The structure and flow behavior of a concentrated aqueous solution (45 wt %) of the ubiquitous linear sodium alkylbenzenesulfonate (NaLAS) surfactant is investigated by microfluidic small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) at 70 °C. NaLAS is an intrinsically complex mixture of over 20 surfactant molecules, presenting coexisting micellar (L1) and lamellar (Lα) phases. Novel microfluidic devices were fabricated to ensure pressure and thermal resistance, ability to handle viscous fluids, and low SAXS background. Polarized light optical microscopy showed that the NaLAS solution exhibits wall slip in microchannels, with velocity profiles approaching plug flow. Microfluidic SAXS demonstrated the structural spatial heterogeneity of the system with a characteristic length scale of 50 nL. Using a statistical flow–SAXS analysis, we identified the micellar phase and multiple coexisting lamellar phases with a continuous distribution of d spacings between 37.5 and 39.5 Å. Additionally, we showed that the orientation of NaLAS lamellar phases is strongly affected by a single microfluidic constriction. The bilayers align parallel to the velocity field upon entering a constriction and perpendicular to it upon exiting. On the other hand, multilamellar vesicle phases are not affected under the same flow conditions. Our results demonstrate that despite the compositional complexity inherent to NaLAS, microfluidic SAXS can rigorously elucidate its structure and flow response.

Subject Areas: Chemistry, Materials

Instruments: I22-Small angle scattering & Diffraction