The lyotropic liquid-crystalline phase behaviour of phytantriol is receiving increasing interest in the literature as a result of similarities with glyceryl monooleate, despite its very different molecular structure. Some differences in the phase-transition temperature for the bicontinuous cubic to reverse hexagonal phase have been reported in the literature. In this study, we have investigated the influence that the commercial source and hence the purity has on the lyotropic phase behavior of phytantriol. Supression of the phase-transition temperatures (by up to 15 degrees celcius for the bicontinuous cubic to reverse hexagonal phase transition) is apparent with lower-purity phytantriol. In addition, the composition boundaries were also found to depend significanlty on the source and purity of phytantriol, with the bicontinuous cubic phase + excess water boundary occurring at a water content above that reported previously (i.e., >5 higher). Both the temperature and compositional changes in phase boundaries have significant implications on the use of these materials and highlight the impact that subtle levels of impurities can play in the phase behavior of these types of materials.
Dong, Y-D., Dong, A., Larson, I. C., Rappolt, M., Amenitsch, H., Hanley, T. L., & Boyd, B. J. (2008). Impurities in commercial phytantriol significantly alter its lyotropic liquid-crystalline phase behavior. Langmuir, 24(13), 6998 - 7003. https://doi.org/10.1021/la800579