Alkane droplets on aqueous solutions of surfactants exhibit a first-order wetting transition as the concentration of surfactant is increased. The low-concentration or "partial wetting" state corresponds to an oil lens in equilibrium with a two-dimensional dilute gas of oil and surfactant molecules. The high-concentration or "pseudo-partial wetting" state consists of an oil lens in equilibrium with a mixed monolayer of surfactant and oil. Depending on the combination of surfactant and oil, these mixed monolayers undergo a thermal phase transition upon cooling, either to a frozen mixed monolayer or to an unusual bilayer structure in which the upper leaflet is a solid layer of pure alkane with hexagonal packing and upright chains while the lower leaflet remains a disordered liquid-like mixed monolayer. Additionally, certain long-chain alkanes exhibit a surface freezing transition at the air-oil interface where the top monolayer of oil freezes above its melting point. In this review, we summarize our previous studies and discuss how these wetting and surface freezing transitions influence the line tension of oil lenses from both an experimental and theoretical perspective.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Surfaces and Interfaces
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry