Branching Mechanisms in Surfactant Micellar Growth

TitleBranching Mechanisms in Surfactant Micellar Growth
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsTang, M, Carter, WCraig
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Pagination2898 - 2905
Date Published2013/03/14/

We present a phase-field model to study the morphological transitions of surfactant micelles in supersaturated dilute solution. Simulations reveal that multiply connected micellar structure can be produced by interface branching instability of a growing micelle at relatively large supersaturation and intermediate spontaneous curvatures. Two branching mechanisms, i.e., a disk-to-cylinder shape transition and a tip bifurcation process, are identified for disklike and cylindrical micelles, respectively. We propose that dynamic branching at the micelle growth front provides an important kinetic pathway for the formation of branched wormlike micelles that are observed in many surfactant systems.