Solution and Surface Organization of Natural and Synthetic Amphiphiles
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Amphiphilic molecules play an important role in numerous products and processes because of their interesting solution association and surface/interface adsorption properties. We address here “natural” biosurfactant amphiphiles and “synthetic” block copolymer amphiphiles.Natural amphiphiles are relatively less studied, despite their potential practical applications and consumer appeal as “green” ingredients. We studied the influence of chemical structure, purity and salinity on the aqueous solution micellization and solid surface adsorption of a glycolipid biosurfactant, rhamnolipid. Furthermore, we compared the micellization and adsorption properties of various types of biosurfactants, rhamnolipid, sophorolipid and surfactin, to the properties of common synthetic surfactants.Synthetic amphiphiles of the poly(ethylene oxide)-poly(propylene oxide)-poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO-PPO-PEO) chemical composition have been used in many fundamental studies related to self-assembly, and their nanoscale structure is useful to diverse applications including drug delivery and semiconductors. We investigated the effects of a protic ionic liquid (IL), ethylammonium nitrate (EAN), and an aprotic IL, 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate (BmimBF4), on the micelle structure of the PEO-PPO-PEO block copolymer Pluronic P123, and further compare to the effects of a classic salt ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3).This work systematically compares for the first time three types of representative biosurfactants in terms of their solution association and surface adsorption for potential bioremediation applications. The investigated effects of different IL additives on the amphiphilic block copolymer micelle structures provide guidance on modulating nano-scale structure for tailoring material properties and function.