[Webinar] Surfactant Self-Assembly – Fundamentals and Applications
Self-assembly is a ubiquitous phenomenon in science, being observed in solution for surfactants, copolymers, or proteins – and, of course, in combinations thereof with other colloidal systems. Accordingly, self-assembly is at the heart of many important scientific processes, such as detergency, formulations in pharmacy or cosmetics, biomembranes, biological systems, etc. Therefore, it is very important to understand the principles of self-assembly and especially how they are related to the molecular composition of the systems and how this translates into the properties of such systems. In this lecture this will be discussed for the case of surfactants, which can become organised in the form of small spherical micelles or worm-like micelles, where the latter may exhibit several orders of magnitude higher viscosity and viscoelastic properties. Another example concerns the solubilisation of hydrophobic molecules in aqueous solutions, which is important for instance for cleaning or tertiary oil recovery, but also for rendering otherwise insoluble drug molecules soluble. The lecture will deal with the basic principles of surfactant self-assembly and use this understanding to rationalise some simple applications of surfactants.