Publications Repository - Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf

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Oppositely charged surfactants and nanoparticles at the air-water interface: Influence of surfactant to nanoparticle ratio

Eftekhari, M.; Schwarzenberger, K.; Karakashev, S. I.; Grozev, N. A.; Eckert, K.


Hypothesis: The interactions between oppositely charged nanoparticles and surfactants can significantly influence the interfacial properties of the system. Traditionally, in the study of such systems, the nanoparticle concentration is varied while the surfactant concentration is kept constant, or vice versa. However, we believe that a defined variation of both components' concentration is necessary to accurately assess their effects on the interfacial properties of the system. We argue that the effect of nanoparticle-surfactant complexes can only be properly evaluated by keeping the surfactant to nanoparticle ratio constant.

Experiments: Zeta potential, dynamic light scattering, high amplitude surface pressure and surface tension measurements are employed synergistically to characterize the interfacial properties of the nanoparticle-surfactant system. Interferometric experiments are performed to highlight the effect of surface concentration on the stability of thin liquid films.

Findings: The interfacial properties of surfactant/nanoparticle mixtures are primarily determined by the surfactant/nanoparticle ratio. Below a certain ratio, free surfactant molecules are removed from the solution by the formation of surfactant-nanoparticle complexes. Surprisingly, even though the concentration and hydrophobicity of these complexes do not seem to have a noticeable impact on the surface tension, they do significantly affect the rheological properties of the interface. Above this ratio, free surfactant monomers and nanoparticle-surfactant complexes coexist and can co-adsorb at the interface, changing both the interfacial tension and the interfacial rheology, and thus, for example, the foamability and foam stability of the system.

Keywords: Nanoparticle surfactant complexes; Surfactant to nanoparticle ratio; Surface pressure isotherm; Zeta potential; Film stability


  • Secondary publication expected from 04.10.2024


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