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Blooming of Smectic Surfactant/Plasticizer Layers on Spin-Cast Poly(vinyl alcohol) Films

Briddick, Arron; Fong, Rebecca J.; Sabattié, Elise F.D.; Li, Peixun; Skoda, Maximilian W.A.; Courchay, Florence; Thompson, Richard L.

Blooming of Smectic Surfactant/Plasticizer Layers on Spin-Cast Poly(vinyl alcohol) Films Thumbnail


Arron Briddick

Rebecca J. Fong

Elise F.D. Sabattié

Peixun Li

Maximilian W.A. Skoda

Florence Courchay


The blooming of sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and the influence of plasticizer (glycerol) on the surfactant distribution in poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) films have been explored by neutron reflectometry (NR) and ion beam analysis techniques. When in binary films with PVA, deuterated SDS (d25-SDS) forms a surface excess corresponding to a wetting layer of the surfactant molecules at the film surface. The magnitude of this surface excess increased significantly in the presence of the plasticizer, and the surfactant was largely excluded from the PVA subphase. NR revealed smectic nanostructures for both SDS and glycerol components within this surface excess in plasticized films. This combined layer comprises surfactant lamellae, separated by interstitial glycerol-rich layers, which is only formed in the plasticized films and persists throughout the surface excess. Atomic force microscopy micrographs of the film surfaces revealed platelike structures in the plasticized PVA, which were consistent with the rigid defects in the surfactant-rich lamellae. The formation of these structures arises from the synergistic surface segregation of SDS and glycerol, evidenced by surface tensiometry. Cloud point analysis of bulk samples indicates a transition at ∼55% water content, below which phase separation occurs in ternary films. This transition is likely to be necessary to form the thick wetting layer observed and therefore indicates that film components remain mobile beyond this point in the drying process.


Briddick, A., Fong, R. J., Sabattié, E. F., Li, P., Skoda, M. W., Courchay, F., & Thompson, R. L. (2018). Blooming of Smectic Surfactant/Plasticizer Layers on Spin-Cast Poly(vinyl alcohol) Films. Langmuir, 34(4), 1410-1418.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 2, 2018
Online Publication Date Jan 2, 2018
Publication Date Jan 30, 2018
Deposit Date Jan 15, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jan 18, 2018
Journal Langmuir
Print ISSN 0743-7463
Electronic ISSN 1520-5827
Publisher American Chemical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 4
Pages 1410-1418


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Copyright Statement
Advance online version This is an open access article published under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the author and source are cited.

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