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Title: Surface freezing in surfactant/alkane/water systems
Author: Ash, Philip Andrew
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2011
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Surface freezing transitions in mixed monolayers of a homologous series of cationic surfactants, the alkyltrimethyl ammonium bromides (CnTAB where n = 12, 14, 16, 18), as well as a range of non-ionic, zwitterionic and biological surfactants, have been investigated ellipsometrically with a range of n-alkanes (Cm where m = 12 – 20, 28). Two distinct solid phases are observed depending upon the chain length difference between surfactant and n-alkane. Type I solid phases consist of a surface frozen mixed monolayer and are formed when this difference is small. Type II solid phases are bilayer structures with a frozen layer of neat n-alkane above a liquid-like mixed monolayer. Type II freezing was thought to occur via wetting of surface frozen n-alkane, as previously reported type II transitions took place in the presence of surface frozen n-alkanes. Thermodynamically stable type II solid phases have now been found in the presence of n-alkanes that do not show surface freezing at the air/alkane interface, however, and so this picture is incomplete. In the presence of pentadecane, for example, the biological surfactant lyso-OPC forms a stable type II solid phase 6.5 °C above the n-alkane bulk melting point. Such a large surface freezing range is unprecedented for a type II system. Studies using external reflection FTIR (ER-FTIRS) and vibrational sum-frequency spectroscopies (VSFS) have been used to probe these novel behaviours. Results were fully consistent with the proposed structures of both type I and type II surface frozen layers. 2D correlation analysis of ER-FTIR spectra as a function of temperature showed that type II frozen layer formation does not proceed via a simple wetting transition, with the formation of a transient intermediate implied. Evidence for such an intermediate was provided by dynamic ellipsometry measurements on the type II C18TAB/n-eicosane system.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available