Polycation–sodium lauryl ether sulfate-type surfactant complexes : influence of ethylene oxide length

L.F.W. Vleugels, J. Pollet, R. Tuinier

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Abstract

Polyelectrolyte-surfactant complexes (PESC) are a class of materials which form spontaneously by self-assembly driven by electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions. PESC containing sodium lauryl ether sulfates (SLES) have found wide application in hair care products like shampoo. Typically, SLES with only one or two ethylene oxide (EO) groups are used for this application. We have studied the influence of the size of the EO block (ranging from 0 to 30 EO groups) on complexation with two model polycations: linear polyDADMAC and branched PEI. PESC size and electrostatic properties were determined during stepwise titration of buffered polycation solutions. The critical aggregation concentration (CAC) of PESC was determined by surface tension measurements and fluorescence spectroscopy. For polyDADMAC, there is no influence of the size of the EO block on the complexation behavior; the stiff polycation governs the structure formation. For PEI, it was seen that the EO block size does affect the structure of the complexes. The CAC value of the investigated complexes turns out to be rather independent of the EO block size; however, the CMC/CAC ratio decreases with increasing size of the EO block. This latter observation explains why the Lochhead-Goddard effect is most effective for small EO blocks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6338-6347
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry
Volume119
Issue number20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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