Microemulsions with polymers

Microemulsions with polymers

Microemulsions are three component systems consisting of two liquids (e.g. water and decane), and a surfactant. In general various structures are possible in such a system. We are mainly interested in domain structures like spherical droplets of water in a matrix of decane. The typical size of the droplets is several nanometers. It may be considered as liquid on a mesoscopic scale with the droplets replacing the atoms in a “real” liquid.

If one adds amphiphilic block copolymers to these microemulsions one observes drastic effects in macroscopic properties like the viscosity of the system. For the case of triblockcopolymers one may imagine the formation of a network of droplets mediated by the polymers.

We investigate the structure of these domains with small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). The Brownian motion of micelles and polymers can be observed in experiments with photon correlation spectroscopy (PCS).

Relevant references

  1. M. Schwab, B. Stühn, Relaxation phenomena and development of structure in a physically cross linked nonionic microemulsion studied by photon correlation spectroscopy and small angle x-ray scattering, J. Chem. Phys. 112, 6461-6471 (2000)
  2. D. Vollmer, J. Vollmer, B. Stühn, E. Wehrli, H.F. Eicke, Polymer-induced ordering in water-oil surfactant mixtures, Phys. Rev. E. 52, 5146-5155 (1995)