Structure of biodiesel based bicontinuous microemulsions for environmentally compatible decontamination: A small angle neutron scattering and freeze fracture electron microscopy study
S. Wellert, M. Karg, H. Imhof, A. Steppin, H.-J. Altmann, M. Dolle, A. Richardt, B. Tiersch, J. Koetz, A. Lapp, T. Hellweg:
Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 325, 1, 250-258 (2008)
Most toxic industrial chemicals and chemical warfare agents are hydrophobic and can only be solubilized in organic solvents. However, most reagents employed for the degradation of these toxic compounds can only be dissolved in water. Hence, microemulsions are auspicious media for the decontamination of a variety of chemical warfare agents and pesticides. They allow for the solubilization of both the lipophilic toxics and the hydrophilic reagent. Alkyl oligoglucosides and plant derived solvents like rapeseed methyl ester enable the formulation of environmentally compatible bicontinuous microemulsions. In the present article the phase behavior of such a microemulsion is studied and the bicontinuous phase is identified. Small angle neutron scattering (SANS) and freeze fracture electron microscopy (FFEM) measurements are used to characterize the structure of the bicontinuous phase and allow for an estimation of the total internal interface. Moreover, also the influence of the co-surfactant (1-pentanol) on the structural parameters of the bicontinuous phase is studied with SANS.