Determination of critical micelle concentrations of ionic and nonionic surfactants based on relative viscosity measurements by capillary electrophoresis
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The critical micelle concentration (CMC) can be obtained by measuring the distinct physical properties of surfactant molecules in the monomeric and micellar states. In this study, two linear increments of relative viscosity with distinct slopes were obtained when increasing surfactant concentrations from dilute solution to above the CMC, which was then determined by the intersection of the two linear extrapolations. Using a capillary electrophoresis (CE) instrument and Poiseuille’s law, the viscosities of surfactants at a series of concentrations covering the monomeric and micellar regions could be obtained by measuring the hydrodynamic flow rates of the corresponding surfactant solutions. We applied this method to determine the CMC values of various types of surfactants including anionic, cationic, zwitterionic, and nonionic surfactants. The resulting CMC values were all in good agreement with those reported in literature. Using this method, the multiple-stage micellization process of a short-chain surfactant was revealed. We have also demonstrated that the CE-based viscometer was applicable to the study of CMC variation caused by organic or electrolyte additives.
KeywordsCritical micelle concentration Surfactant Capillary electrophoresis Relative viscosity
We thank the National Science Council of Taiwan and Tamkang University for supporting this work.