Cooperativity in micellar solubilization

Seishi Shimizu, Nobuyuki Matubayasi

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Sudden onset of solubilization is observed widely around or below the critical micelle concentration (CMC) of surfactants. It has also been reported that micellization is induced by the solutes even below CMC and the solubilized solute increases the aggregation number of the surfactant. These observations suggest enhanced cooperativity in micellization upon solubilization. Recently, we have developed a rigorous statistical thermodynamic theory of cooperative solubilization. Its application to hydrotropy revealed the mechanism of cooperative hydrotropy: hydrotrope self-association enhanced by solutes. Here we generalize our previous cooperative solubilization theory to surfactants. We have shown that the well-known experimental observations, such as the reduction of CMC in the presence of the solutes and the increase of aggregation number, are the manifestations of cooperative solubilization. Thus, the surfactant self-association enhanced by a solute is the driving force of cooperativity and a part of a universal cooperative solubilization mechanism common to hydrotropes and surfactants at low concentrations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8705-8716
Number of pages12
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Early online date30 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Mar 2021

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