Self-Assembly at High Pressures: SANS Study of the Effect of Pressure on Microstructure of C8E5 Micelles in Water

M. Lesemann, H. Nathan, T. P. DiNoia, C. F. Kirby, M. A. McHugh, J. H. Van Zanten, M. E. Paulaitis

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14 Scopus citations


We present the results of a high-pressure small-angle neutron scattering study of the effect of pressure on surfactant microstructure. The study was carried out on a solution of 1 wt % C8E5 in D 2O at 29.4 °C and pressures up to 310 MPa. The C 8E5 micelles that form under these conditions are noninteracting. We find that applying pressure leads to a pronounced decrease in the micelle radius of gyration and the forward scattering intensity over the pressure range from ambient to 150 MPa. The partial molecular volume of the surfactant and the extent of hydration of the surfactant head groups in the micelle were also determined using the method of solvent contrast variation. Both quantities decrease with the application of pressure up to 150 MPa. Core-shell model fits to the scattering spectra over the entire q-range indicate that the shell radius decreases, while the hydrophobic core radius increases slightly with pressure. The pressure dependence of the shell radius is notably similar to that observed for the radius of gyration. Collectively, these observations lead to the conclusion that the effect of pressure on C 8E5 micellization is to induce the dehydration of surfactant head groups and the collapse of the hydrophilic micelle shell at pressures between ambient and 150 MPa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6425-6430
Number of pages6
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number25
StatePublished - Dec 10 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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