Molecular dynamics study of stability and disintegration of long rod-like micelles: Dodecyltrimethylammonium chloride in solutions of hydroxybenzoates
Gujt, J. and Bešter-Rogač, M. and Spohr, E.
JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR LIQUIDS
Volume: 228 Pages: 150-159
Recently it was found out that different positions of the hydroxylic group on hydroxybenzoate anions (HB) crucially affect the thermodynamics of the self-organization of the cationic surfactant dodecyltrimethylammonium chloride (DTAC) and also the structure of resulting aggregates. In our previous work, the properties of stable long cylindrical DTAC micelles in the presence of NaHB at 1:1 DTAC/NaHB molar ratio in aqueous solutions were investigated by atomistic molecular dynamics simulations. In the present work, we first study the decay of cylindrical DTAC micelles in water without added salt and then extend our research to systems with low NaHB concentrations (DTAC/NaHB molar ratios of 4:1 and 2:1) in order to approach the real experimental conditions more closely. The geometry and structural properties of DTAC micelles in water are investigated, and also the decomposition of long cylindrical micelles and the solvent accessible surface area of micelles is discussed. We observe that the initial DTAC micelle without NaHB quickly disintegrates into smaller stable spherical micelles. At the 2:1 DTAC/NaHB molar ratio we find all initial DTAC micelles to remain stable; however, their geometry deviates significantly from initial cylindrical one. Furthermore, it is observed that o-HB induces a more ordered internal structure of the micelle, and is more strongly oriented than the other two isomers, which agrees well with the experiments and observations reported in our previous work. When the NaHB concentration is decreased to 4:1 DTAC/NaHB molar ratio, an initial DTAC micelle disintegrates forming smaller aggregates of spherical or elongated shapes regardless of the nature of the HB isomer present. The microscopic structure of the resultant micelles is very similar to the structure observed at higher NaHB concentration, however, the effect of HB ions is smaller. It was also observed that the micelle remains stable longer in the presence of o-HB than in the presence of the other two isomers. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.