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Article

Experiment on the Self-Aggregation of Amphiphiles

1Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, Department of Chemistry Education, Georg-August-University, Göttingen, Germany

2Institute of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, Georg-August-University, Göttingen, Germany


World Journal of Chemical Education. 2019, Vol. 7 No. 2, 185-188
DOI: 10.12691/wjce-7-2-19
Copyright © 2019 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Elena von Hoff, Silan Toy, Thomas Waitz, Ingo Mey. Experiment on the Self-Aggregation of Amphiphiles. World Journal of Chemical Education. 2019; 7(2):185-188. doi: 10.12691/wjce-7-2-19.

Correspondence to: Ingo  Mey, Institute of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, Georg-August-University, Göttingen, Germany. Email: imey@gwdg.de

Abstract

Formation of supramolecular aggregates such as micelles and vesicles is governed by hydrophobic and hydrophilic interaction as well as the geometric shapes of the aggregating molecules. Here we present an experiment for upper secondary chemistry class to show how structural properties of molecules such as fatty acids govern the shapes of aggregates. For fatty acids, the pH value controls whether micelles or vesicles are formed. Using a size exclusion column and the possibility to encase fluorescing dye molecules in vesicles, the properties of micelles and vesicles are explored and compared to typical micelle building surfactants from dish detergent and the vesicle building lecithin.

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