Synergistic effects in flows of mixtures of wormlike micelles and hydroxyethyl celluloses with or without hydrophobic modifications

M. R. Rojas, A. J. Müller, A. E. Sáez

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15 Scopus citations


This work presents experimental results on simple shear and porous media flow of aqueous solutions of two hydroxyethyl celluloses (HEC) and two hydrophobically modified hydroxyethyl celluloses (HMHEC) with different molecular weights. Mixtures of these polymers with a cationic surfactant, cetyltrimethylammonium p-toluenesulfonate (CTAT) were also studied. Emphasis was given to the range of surfactant concentrations in which wormlike micelles are formed. The presence of hydrophobic groups, the effect of the molecular weight of the polymers, the surfactant and polymer concentrations, and the effect of the flow field type (simple shear versus porous media flow) were the most important variables studied. The results show that the shear viscosity of HEC/CTAT solutions is higher than the viscosities of surfactant and polymer solutions at the same concentrations, but surface tension measurements indicate that no complex formation occurs between CTAT and HEC. On the other hand, a complex driven by hydrophobic interactions was detected by surface tension measurements between CTAT and HMHEC. In this case, the viscosity of the mixture increases significantly more (up to four orders of magnitude at high CTAT concentrations) in comparison with HEC/CTAT aqueous solutions. Increments in the molecular weight of the polymers increase the interaction with CTAT and the shear viscosity of the solution, but make phase separation more feasible. In porous media flow, the polymer/CTAT mixtures exhibited higher apparent viscosities than in simple shear flows. This result suggests that the extensional component of the flow field in porous media flows leads to a stronger interaction between the polymer and the wormlike micelles, probably as a consequence of change of conformation and growth of the micelles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-72
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Colloid And Interface Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008


  • CTAT
  • HEC
  • Hydrophobes
  • Polymer-surfactant
  • Wormlike micelles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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