A Study of Triton X Series Nonionic Surfactant Solutions

by Qiao, Lijun

Abstract (Summary)
This work contains some fundamental investigations on Triton X series nonionic surfactants from different aspects. Techniques, such as viscometry, densimetry, diffusion measurement, ultra-violet spectrophotometry, differential scanning calorimetry, surface tension measurement and optical microscopy were employed to acquire the information. Some theoretical analyses were given to the results of these measurements. Triton X surfactants show different properties when they dissolve in different solvents. Aggregation can occur in some solvents, depending on the interactions between solvent and solute. The addition of a surfactant to a solvent will give rise to a solute-solvent interaction and change the solute-solute and solvent-solvent interactions as well. From mass transport properties of the surfactant solutions, these interactions were studied and the contributions to them from each species of the solutions were calculated with a transition-state theory model which is usually used for small molecule systems. Under some reasonable assumptions, a new theoretical method was set up and was able to give a reasonable explanation for the experimental results. The surfactants can also associate with some dyes in both polar and apolar media. The ultra-violet spectra of the surfactant-dye solutions show that surfactant-dye complexes might be formed in the polar and apolar media where the surfactants form regular and reversed micelles respectively. The mechanism of the complexation reactions was studied with equilibrium theory and the charge-transfer nature of the association between the surfactant and dye revealed. The surface tension and. cloud point changes due to the addition of polyethylene glycol were determined to discover the interaction between the water-soluble polymer PEG and the surfactants at the air-solution interface and in the bulk solutions respectively. The mass distribution of the two materials between the two phases produced in the segregation (at the cloud point) of the solutions were determined by their ultra-violet adsorption spectra and densities. The analysis of the cloud point changes was given with the new concepts of polysoap and depletion flocculation. The results show that the size of the micelles, the length of the polymer chains, and the structures of the intra - chain micelles can change the mechanisms of polymer-surfactant interaction and influence the properties of the polymer/surfactant solutions. In a certain range of concentrations, the surfactants aqueous solutions can form liquid crystalline structures which can be observed under a cross-polarised microscope and determined by differential scanning calorimetry. The phase diagrams and their variations with additions of the third component, such as xylene, polyethylene glycol and BaCl2 2H2O have been determined. The effects of temperature and each of the additives on the ordered structures were analysed separately in the light of concepts of spontaneous mean curvature and "salting out" effect. Osmotic coefficients of the surfactant aqueous and methanol solutions were determined with a vapour pressure osmometer, and the activity coefficient of the solvent can be calculated with the osmotic coefficients. The change of the activity coefficient with increase of surfactant concentration shows the interactions of the surfactant with the solvent. In aqueous solution, the addition of surfactant frees the solvent molecules, leading to an activity coefficient larger than 1. In methanol solution, the surfactant addition reduces the fugacity of methanol molecules, resulting in an activity coefficient less than 1. Chemical shift changes of protons of the surfactant molecules in the lH NMR spectra show some information about the configuration of the chains, hydration, and phase structure of the solution system when the surfactant concentration changes over the whole concentration range. From 40% w/w the associated water molecules begin to be lost, and the association number ratio of water molecules and the ethylene oxide unit of the surfactant is 4:1. Electric conductance of electrolytes in the surfactant aqueous solutions are reduced by the addition of the surfactants. The reduction is more significant for large size cations, and the longer the EO chain of the surfactant, the larger the reducing effect on conductance.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Dr Allan J. Easteal

School:The University of Auckland / Te Whare Wananga o Tamaki Makaurau

School Location:New Zealand

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:fields of research 250000 chemical sciences


Date of Publication:01/01/1996

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