Nonlinear dynamics in micellar surfactant solutions. I. Kinetics

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This is the first of a pair of articles that present the theory of kinetic and transport phenomena in micelle-forming surfactant solutions in a form that facilitates discussion of large deviations from equilibrium. Our goal is to construct approximate but robust reduced models for both homogeneous and inhomogeneous systems as differential equations for unimer concentration c1, micelle number concentration cm, average micelle aggregation number q and (optionally) aggregation number variance σm2. This first article discusses kinetics in homogeneous solutions. We focus particularly on developing models that can describe both weakly perturbed states and states in which c1 is suppressed significantly below the critical micelle concentration, which leads to rapid shrinkage and dissociation of any remaining micelles. This focus is motivated by the strong local suppression of c1 that is predicted to occur near interfaces during some adsorption processes that are considered in the second article. Toward this end, we develop a general nonlinear theory of fast stepwise processes for systems that may be subjected to large changes in q and c1. This is combined with the existing nonlinear theory of slow association and dissociation processes to construct a general model for systems governed by stepwise reaction kinetics. We also consider situations in which the slow process of micelle creation and destruction instead occurs primarily by micelle fission and fusion, and analyze the dependencies of micelle lifetime and the slow relaxation time upon surfactant concentration in systems controlled by either association-dissociation or fission-fusion mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number034602
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by NSF Grant No. DMR-1310436, and in part by NMP and MP programs of the University of Minnesota Industrial Partnership for Interfacial and Materials Engineering (IPRIME) center.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Physical Society.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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