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Micelle structure of nonionic surfactants containing carbon dioxide moieties in protic ionic liquids

Miao, Shurui; Gradzielski, Michael; Warr, Gregory

Partial substitution of ethylene oxide with carbon dioxide moieties can yield greener nonionic surfactants with comparable functionalities. In water, studies showed that the incorporation of CO2 moieties suppresses the formation of liquid crystalline phases at high concentrations. A similar reduction in solvation and suppression of liquid crystal formation is observed here in the ionic liquids ethylammonium nitrate and propylammonium nitrate. Small-angle neutron scattering is used to study the solvation and packing of micelles in ionic liquids as functions of temperature, concentration, and content of CO2 moieties. By comparing with aqueous solutions, this work shows that while the nature of surfactant-solvent interaction is comparable among water and alkylammonium nitrate ILs, their behaviours in the solvated micelle shell are different. The lack of liquid crystalline phases should be attributed to the small excluded volume of micelles, which can be fine-tuned via ion design and choice of solvent.
Published in: Colloid and Polymer Science, 10.1007/s00396-023-05139-5, Springer Nature