How Promoting and Breaking Intersurfactant H-Bonds Impact Foam Stability
Journal article, 2019
On the basis of previous results revealing that intersurfactant H-bonds improve foam stability, we now focus on how foams stabilized by two different N-acyl amino acid surfactants are affected by different salts (NaF, NaCl, NaSCN), which can promote or break intersurfactant H-bonds. The chosen surfactants, namely, sodium N-lauroyl sarcosinate (C12SarcNa) and sodium N-lauroyl glycinate (C12GlyNa), differ only by one methyl group at the nitrogen of the amide bond that blocks intersurfactant H-bonds in the case of C12SarcNa. The salts were chosen because they are kosmotropic (NaF), chaotropic (NaSCN), and in between (NaCl) and thus influence the formation of an H-bond network in different ways. Surface tension measurements showed that the addition of salts decreased the cmcs of both surfactants and increased the packing density, as expected. Moreover, in presence of the salts, the head groups of the H-bond forming surfactant C12GlyNa were more tightly packed at the surface than the C12SarcNa head groups. The effect of the salts on foam stability was studied by analysis of the foam height, the foam liquid fraction, and by image analysis of the foam structure. As expected, the salts had no significant effect on foams stabilized by C12SarcNa, which is unable to form intersurfactant H-bonds. In contrast, the stability of C12GlyNa-containing foams followed the trend NaF > NaCl > NaSCN, which is in agreement with NaF promoting and NaSCN breaking intersurfactant H-bonds. Surface rheology measurements allowed us to correlate foam stability with surface elasticity. This study provides new insights into the importance of H-bond promoters and breakers, which should be used in the future design of tailor-made surfactants.