Design of Surfactant Tails for Effective Surface Tension Reduction and Micellization in Water and/or Supercritical CO2

Christopher Hill, Yasushi Umetsu, Kazuki Fujita, Takumi Endo, Kodai Sato, Atsushi Yoshizawa, Sarah E. Rogers, Julian Eastoe, Masanobu Sagisaka*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The interfacial properties and water-in-CO2 (W/CO2) microemulsion (μE) formation with double- and novel triple-tail surfactants bearing trimethylsilyl (TMS) groups in the tails are investigated. Comparisons of these properties are made with those for analogous hydrocarbon (HC) and fluorocarbon (FC) tail surfactants. Surface tension measurements allowed for critical micelle concentrations (CMC) and surface tensions at the CMC (γCMC) to be determined, resulting in the following trend in surface activity FC > TMS > HC. Addition of a third surfactant tail gave rise to increased surface activity, and very low γCMC values were recorded for the double/triple-tail TMS and HC surfactants. Comparing effective tail group densities (ρlayer) of the respective surfactants allowed for an understanding of how γCMC is affected by both the number of surfactant tails and the chemistry of the tails. These results highlight the important role of tail group chemical structure on ρlayer for double-tail surfactants. For triple-tail surfactants, however, the degree to which ρlayer is affected by tail group architecture is harder to discern due to formation of highly dense layers. Stable W/CO2 μEs were formed by both the double- and the triple-tail TMS surfactants. High-pressure small-angle neutron scattering (HP-SANS) has been used to characterize the nanostructures of W/CO2 μEs formed by the double- and triple-tail surfactants, and at constant pressure and temperature, the aqueous cores of the microemulsions were found to swell with increasing water-to-surfactant ratio (W0). A maximum W0 value of 25 was recorded for the triple-tail TMS surfactant, which is very rare for nonfluorinated surfactants. These data therefore highlight important parameters required to design fluorine-free environmentally responsible surfactants for stabilizing W/CO2 μEs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number48
Pages (from-to)14829-14840
Number of pages12
Issue number48
Early online date23 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2020


  • double tail surfactants
  • triple tail surfactants
  • trimethylsilyl surfactants
  • supercritical CO2
  • solubilizing power
  • Small-Angle Neutron Scattering

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