Adsorption of nonionic surfactants on cellulose surfaces : adsorbed amounts and kinetics

L.H. Torn, L.K. Koopal, A. de Keizer, J. Lyklema

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Kinetic and equilibrium aspects of three different poly(ethylene oxide) alkylethers (C12E5, C12E7, C14E7) near a flat cellulose surface are studied. The equilibrium adsorption isotherms look very similar for these surfactants, each showing three different regions with increasing surfactant concentration. At low surfactant content both the headgroup and the tail contribute to the adsorption. At higher surface concentrations, lateral attraction becomes prominent and leads to the formation of aggregates on the surface. The general shape of the isotherms and the magnitude of the adsorption resemble mostly those for hydrophilic surfaces, but both the ethylene oxide and the aliphatic segments determine affinity for the surface. The adsorption and desorption kinetics are strongly dependent on surfactant composition. At bulk concentrations below the CMC, the initial adsorption rate is attachment-controlled. Above the CMC, the micellar diffusion coefficient and the micellar dissociation rate play a crucial role. For the most hydrophilic surfactant, C12E7, both parameters are relatively large. In this case, the initial adsorption rate increases with increasing surfactant concentration, also above the CMC. For C12E5 and C14E7 there is no micellar contribution to the initial adsorption rate. The initial desorption kinetics are governed by monomer detachment from the surface aggregates. The desorption rate constants scale with the CMC, indicating an analogy between the surface aggregates and those formed in solution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7768-7775
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • silica-water interface
  • non-ionic surfactants
  • aqueous-solutions
  • solid-surfaces
  • micellar solutions
  • ultrathin films
  • model
  • ellipsometry
  • relaxation
  • thermodynamics

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    Torn, L. H., Koopal, L. K., de Keizer, A., & Lyklema, J. (2005). Adsorption of nonionic surfactants on cellulose surfaces : adsorbed amounts and kinetics. Langmuir, 21(17), 7768-7775.