Structural and rheological changes of lamellar liquid crystals as a result of compositional changes and added silica nanoparticles

Joshua B. Marlow, Matthew J. Pottage, Thomas M. McCoy, Liliana De Campo, Anna Sokolova, Toby D.M. Bell, Rico F. Tabor

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Lamellar liquid crystals comprising oil, water and surfactant(s) were formulated and analysed in order to examine how these materials responded to the inclusion of inorganic nanoparticles, in terms of their structural and rheological characteristics. Lamellar phases were formed from mixtures of water, para-xylene and Triton X-100, and analysis was performed via small-angle neutron scattering (SANS), polarising light microscopy (PLM), and amplitude and viscosity sweeps. The partial replacement of Triton X-100 with oleic acid appeared to cause an increase in bilayer thickness, attributed to less efficient packing of the different molecules. Addition of oleic acid also appeared to cause both a loss in lamellar repeat ordering, attributed to heterogeneity of the bilayers, and a rise in long range order, potentially caused by the stiffer bilayers. Adding silica nanoparticles of different size and surface chemistry caused a stiffening of the samples at the expense of a longer-range lamellar repeat order. This strengthening is attributed to aggregation at the domain boundaries, and it was found that hydrophobic particles tended to form stronger aggregates while for larger particles (20 nm as opposed to 10 nm) aggregation was apparently reversible. These results give a more comprehensive understanding of how to reliably control the structural and rheological properties of lamellar liquid crystals, and emphasise the importance of the size and surface chemistry of any inclusions, for applications in cosmetics, drug delivery, and microfluidics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16592-16603
Number of pages12
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

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