The lateral intermolecular forces between surfactant or lipid molecules in monolayers at interfaces are fundamental to understanding the phenomena of surface activity and the interactions of lipids in two-dimensional structures such as smectic phases and biomembranes. The classical approach to these forces is via the two-dimensional virial coefficients, which requires precise micromanometry on monolayer isotherms in the dilute gaseous region. Low pressure isotherms out to high surface areas in the two-dimensional gas range have been measured at 15, 25 and 30 °C for insoluble monolayers of n-pentadecanoic acid spread at the interface between water-vapour saturated air and a dilute aqueous solution of HCl. The data allow estimates of virial coefficients up to the third term. The second virial coefficients are compared with those predicted from a statistical mechanical model for monolayers of n-alkylcarboxylic acids treated as side-by-side parallel chains extended at the surface with the carboxyl head groups shielded in the water phase. The two sets coincide at ∼26 °C, but the experimental estimates show a much larger dependence on temperature than the model predicts. Chain conformation effects, head group interactions and surface field polarization are discussed as possible temperature-dependent contributions to the lateral potentials of mean force.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry