Diffusion in surfactant solutions

Robert M. Weinheimer, D. Fennell Evans, E. L. Cussler

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The diffusion coefficients in water of Triton X-100 and sodium dodecyl sulfate were measured as a function of concentration using the Taylor dispersion technique. For Triton X-100, a nonionic surfactant, the diffusion coefficient drops from 7.4 × 10-7 cm2/sec at 0.45 g/liter to 6.45 x 10-7 cm2/sec at 5 g/liter. The diffusion coefficient of methyl yellow solubilized in Triton X-100 is close to that of the surfactant. This behavior is quantitatively consistent with a chemical equilibrium between monomer and micelle. For sodium dodecyl sulfate, an anionic surfactant, the diffusion coefficient increases from 1.76 x 10-6 cm2/sec at 0.01 M to 4.53 x 10-6 cm2/sec at 0.125 M. The increase is less when 0.1 M NaCl is added. The diffusion coefficient of the methyl yellow solubilized by the SDS is significantly less than that of the surfactant, particularly at low ionic strength. This behavior can be quantitatively explained by including electrostatic coupling between monomer, micelle, and counterion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-368
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Colloid And Interface Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1981
Externally publishedYes

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