Aliotta, Francesco and Fazio, Barbara (2001) Percolative phenomena in branched reverse micelles. Accademia Peloritana dei Pericolanti - Classe di Scienze FF.MM.NN., 78-79 (1). pp. 147-157.
The role played by the solvation water molecules on the macroscopically observed solgel transition in lecithin/cyclohexane/water reverse micelles in investigated. The self diffusion properties of both the surfactant and the water molecules entrapped in the micellar cores are investigated by Quasi Elastic Neutron Scattering, while dielectric relaxation and conductivity measurements furnish information on the structural relaxation processes taking place in the system. The obtained results are compared with the experimental indications for AOT/cyclohexane/water systems. The data from lecithin based systems can be interpreted only assuming that, contrary to AOT systems, the water molecules are entrapped at the interfaces without coalescing into an inner water pool. Also the charge transport mechanisms look very different in the two kinds of system. In particular, in the case of lecithin it is shown how the conductivity appears mainly due to inter-micellar bond percolation: it is suggested that the solvated water molecules can induce a change of the surface curvature, in such a way promoting the formation of branch points. The idea of the existence of a percolated network of branched cylindrical micelles agrees with the observed temperature dependence of the system conductivity. The study of the electrorheologic behaviour of the system under electric field confirms the existence of a percolated transient network in the gel phase.
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