Molecular modeling of surfactant micellization using solvent-accessible surface area

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We report a new implicit solvent simulation model for studying the self-assembly of surfactants, where the hydrophobic interactions were captured by calculating the relative changes of the solvent-accessible surface area (SASA) of the hydrophobic domains. Using histogram-reweighting grand canonical Monte Carlo simulations, we demonstrate that this approach allows us to match both the experimental critical micelle concentrations (cmc) and micellar aggregation numbers simultaneously with a single phenomenological surface tension SASA for the poly(oxyethylene) monoalkyl ether (C m E n ) surfactants in aqueous solutions. Excellent transferability is observed: the same model can accurately predict the experimental cmc and aggregation numbers for the C m E n surfactants with the alkyl lengths m between 6 and 12 and the poly(oxyethylene) lengths n between 1 and 9. The SASA-based implicit solvent model put forward in this work is general and may be applied to study more complex amphiphilic systems such as surfactants with branched alkyl chains or surfactant-hydrocarbon mixtures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2443-2450
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 12 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Spectroscopy
  • General Materials Science
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Electrochemistry


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