, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 1-12
Date: 03 Nov 2012

Protocol for Studying Aqueous Foams Stabilized by Surfactant Mixtures

Abstract

Even though foams have been the subject of intensive investigations over the last decades, many important questions related to their properties remain open. This concerns in particular foams which are stabilized by mixtures of surfactants. The present study deals with the fundamental question: which are the important parameters one needs to consider if one wants to characterize foams properly? We give an answer to this question by providing a measuring protocol which we apply to well-known surfactant systems. The surfactants of choice are the two non-ionic surfactants n-dodecyl-β-d-maltoside (β-C12G2) and hexaethyleneglycol monododecyl ether (C12E6) as well as their 1:1 mixture. Following the suggested protocol, we generated data which allow discussion of the influence of the surfactant structure and of the composition on the time evolution of the foam volume, the liquid fraction, the bubble size and the bubble size distribution. This paper shows that different foam properties can be assigned to different surfactant structures, which is the crucial point if one wants to tailor-make surfactants for specific applications.