Oil-water interfaces with surfactants: A systematic approach to determine coarse-grained model parameters

TV Vu and DV Papavassiliou, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 148, 204704 (2018).

DOI: 10.1063/1.5022798

In order to investigate the interfacial region between oil and water with the presence of surfactants using coarse-grained computations, both the interaction between different components of the system and the number of surfactant molecules present at the interface play an important role. However, in many prior studies, the amount of surfactants used was chosen rather arbitrarily. In this work, a systematic approach to develop coarse-grained models for anionic surfactants (such as sodium dodecyl sulfate) and nonionic surfactants (such as octaethylene glycol monododecyl ether) in oil-water interfaces is presented. The key is to place the theoretically calculated number of surfactant molecules on the interface at the critical micelle concentration. Based on this approach, the molecular description of surfactants and the effects of various interaction parameters on the interfacial tension are investigated. The results indicate that the interfacial tension is affected mostly by the head-water and tail-oil interaction. Even though the procedure presented herein is used with dissipative particle dynamics models, it can be applied for other coarse-grained methods to obtain the appropriate set of parameters (or force fields) to describe the surfactant behavior on the oil-water interface. Published by AIP Publishing.

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