Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol.567, 18-27, 2020
Dynamic interfacial tension measurement under electric fields allows detection of charge carriers in nonpolar liquids
Hypothesis: Electric fields enhance surfactant transport to oil-water interfaces when the surfactant forms charged aggregates in the oil phase. Hence, transport under electric fields could be used to detect charged surfactant aggregates in nonpolar media. Experiments: Two surfactants with different architecture were dispersed in Isopar-M. The transport of surfactants to an oil-water interface under a constant electric field was quantified using a custom-built electrified microtensiometer platform. Electrical conductivity of the oil with surfactant concentration was also measured to determine the presence of charge carriers. Findings: The charging mechanism of the oil phase, and field-enhanced transport was different for the two surfactants. At low concentrations where the electrical conductivity of the surfactants is indistinguishable, dynamic interfacial tension measurements under electric fields can ascertain the presence of charge carriers in lsopar-M. The transport of ionic surfactants in the aqueous phase was unaffected by the field, confirming that the field-enhanced transport of oil-phase surfactants is due to electrophoresis of charge carriers. Moreover, the equilibrium interfacial tension was not found to change under an electric field, suggesting the adsorption isotherm is independent of the field strength. We demonstrate that dynamic interfacial tension measurements under electric fields is a sensitive technique to detect charge carriers in nonpolar fluids. (C) 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.