Sequential adsorption of an irreversibly adsorbed nonionic surfactant and an anionic surfactant at an oil/aqueous interface

Stephanie M. Kirby, Shelley L. Anna, Lynn M. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Aerosol-OT (AOT) and Tween 80 are two of the main surfactants in commercial dispersants used in response to oil spills. Understanding how multicomponent surfactant systems interact at oil/aqueous interfaces is crucial for improving both dispersant design and application efficacy. This is true of many multicomponent formulations; a lack of understanding of competition for the oil/water interface hinders formulation optimization. In this study, we have characterized the sequential adsorption behavior of AOT on squalane/aqueous interfaces that have been precoated with Tween 80. A microtensiometer is used to measure the dynamic interfacial tension of the system. Tween 80 either partially or completely irreversibly adsorbs to squalane/aqueous interfaces when rinsed with deionized water. These Tween 80 coated interfaces are then exposed to AOT. AOT adsorption increases with AOT concentration for all Tween 80 coverages, and the resulting steady-state interfacial tension values are interpreted using a Langmuir isotherm model. In the presence of 0.5 M NaCl, AOT adsorption significantly increases due to counterion charge screening of the negatively charged head groups. The presence of Tween 80 on the interface inhibits AOT adsorption, reducing the maximum surface coverage as compared to a clean interface. Tween 80 persists on the interface even after exposure to high concentrations of AOT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4063-4071
Number of pages9
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 14 2015
Externally publishedYes

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Chemical Society.


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