Aroma Molecules as Dynamic Volatile Surfactants: Functionality Beyond the Scent

The research presented here unveils specific interfacial behavior of aroma molecules and justifies their usage as multifunctional volatile surfactants. As non-conventional volatile amphiphiles we study commercially available poorly water-soluble compounds from the classes of synthetic and essential flavor oils. Their distinctive feature is high dynamic interfacial activity, so that they decrease the surface tension of aqueous solutions on a time scale of milliseconds. Another potentially useful property of such amphiphiles is their volatility, so that they notably evaporate from interfaces on a time scale of seconds. This behavior allows for control of wetting and spreading processes. A revealed synergetic interfacial behavior of mixtures of conventional and volatile surfactants is attributed to a decrease of the adsorption barrier as a result of high statistical availability of new sites at the surface upon evaporation of the volatile component. Our results offer promising advantages in manufacturing technologies which involve newly creating interfaces, such as spraying, coating technologies, ink-jet printing, microfluidics, laundry, stabilization of emulsions in cosmetic and food industry, as well as in geosciences for controlling aerosols formation.