The effect of solvent and counterion variation on inverse micelle CMCs in hydrocarbon solvents

Gregory N. Smith, Paul Brown, Craig James, Sarah E. Rogers, Julian Eastoe*

*Corresponding author for this work

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

18 Citations (Scopus)
300 Downloads (Pure)


Critical micelle concentrations (CMCs) for the formation of inverse micelles have been determined for anionic surfactants in nonpolar, hydrocarbon solvents. Sodium dioctylsulfosuccinate (Aerosol OT or AOT) was chosen as the model surfactant, with systematic variations in both the solvent (benzene, cyclohexane, and dodecane) and the surfactant counterion (sodium and tetrapropylammonium). Recent work (Langmuir 29 (2013) 3352-3258) has shown that high-resolution small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) measurements can be used to directly determine the presence or absence of aggregates in solution. No variation in the value of the CMC was found within the resolution of the measurements for changing either solvent or counterion; some effects on the structure of inverse micelles were observed. This lack of a significant difference in the onset of inverse micellization with changes to the molecular species is surprising, and the implications on the solvophobic effect in nonpolar solvents are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-200
Number of pages7
JournalColloids and Surfaces A. Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects
Early online date16 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2016


  • Inverse micelles
  • Nonpolar solvents
  • Small-angle neutron scattering


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