Microstructural and thermodynamic characterisation of wormlike micelles formed by polydisperse ionic surfactant solutions

Stephen L. Flores, Junju Mu, Christopher P. Cabry, Sergio Carrillo De Hert, Lisa Morrison, Ian P. Stott, Joanne L. Cook, Andrew J. Masters, Chris Hardacre, Carlos Avendano

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For industrial applications of self-assembled wormlike micelles, measurement and characterization of a micellar material’s microstructure and rheology are paramount for the development and deployment of new high-performing and
cost-effective formulations. Within this workflow, there are significant bottlenecks associated with experimental delays and lack of transferability of results from one chemistry to another. In this work, we outline a process to predict microscopic and thermodynamic characteristics of wormlike micelles directly from rheological data by combining a more robust and efficient fitting algorithm with a recently published constitutive model called the Toy Shuffling model. To support this work, linear rheology measurements were taken for 143 samples comprising a common base formulation of commercial sodium lauryl ether sulphate (SLES), cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB) and salt (NaCl). The steady state zero shear viscosity evident in linear rheology was measured in duplicate via direct steady and oscillatory shear experiments. Fitting the collected data to the model, we found trends in the microstructural and thermodynamic characteristics that agree with molecular dynamics simulations. These trends validate our new perspective on the parameters that inform the study of the relationship between chemical formulation and rheology. This work, when implemented at scale, can potentially be used to inform and test strategies for predicting self-assembled micellar structures based on chemical formulation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of chemical physics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023


  • wormlike micelles
  • rheology
  • thermodynamics
  • surfactants
  • chemical formulation


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