Aqueous micellar solutions of the cationic surfactant hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) and sodium nitrate (NaNO3) were examined using steady and dynamic rheology, small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) and cryogenic-transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM). Upon addition of NaNO3, the CTAB spherical micelles transform into long, flexible wormlike micelles, conveying viscoelastic properties to the solutions. The zero-shear viscosity (η0) versus NaNO3 concentration curve exhibits a well-defined maximum. Likewise, upon increase in temperature, the viscosity decreases. Dynamic rheological data of the entangled micellar solutions can be well described by the Maxwell model. Changes in the structural parameters of the micelles with addition of NaNO3 were inferred from SANS measurements. The intensity of scattered neutrons at the low q region was found to increase with increasing NaNO3 concentration. This suggests an increase in size of the micelles and/or decrease of intermicellar interactions with increasing salt concentration. Analysis of the SANS data using prolate ellipsoidal structure and Yukawa form of interaction potential between micelles indicates that addition of NaNO3 leads to a decrease in the surface charge of the ellipsoidal micelles and consequently an increase in their length. The structural transition from spherical to entangled threadlike micelles, induced by the addition of NaNO3 to CTAB micelles is further confirmed by cryo-TEM.
- Wormlike micelles