Investigating oil solubilization into nonionic micelles by Raman multivariate curve resolution

18 May 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Hydrophobic hydration, whereby water spontaneously structures around hydrophobic and amphiphilic molecules, plays a key role in the process of surfactant micelle formation and micellar oil solubilization. Using vibrational Raman multivariate curve resolution (MCR) spectroscopy, we characterized changes in the hydrophobic hydration occurring within nonionic alkylphenol ethoxylate surfactant Tergitol NP-12 micelles as a function of oil solubilization. We report trends in the changes of hydrophobic hydration depending on the chain length of the oil as well as the presence of a halogen atom in the oil chemical structure. Changes in hydrophobic hydration directly correlate to changes in the physical properties of the micellar solution, including cloud point and micelle hydrodynamic diameter. We compare hydrophobic hydration of Tergitol NP-12 to nonionic linear alkyl ethoxylate surfactant Makon TD-12 and ionic sodium dodecyl sulfate and observe similar trends; the molecular structure of the oil has the largest impact on the hydrophobic hydration. We believe these studies contribute to a fundamental understanding of the importance of hydrophobic hydration in surfactant and oil aggregates, especially as it relates to micellar oil solubilization, and provide insight into how the molecular solubilizate can impact micellar structure, size, and stability.


aman multivariate curve resolution
hydrophobic hydration

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information
Methods, supporting figures and tables


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