Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2011

Capstone Advisor

Yan-Yeung Luk

Honors Reader

Michael Sponsler

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Sciences and Engineering

Subject Categories



Emulsion systems stabilized by surfactants have historically been driven by the separation of hydrophobic oils from water, essentially creating surfactant micelles. As surfactant molecules aggregate around the oil, they self-assemble in such a way that the hydrophobic chains of the surfactants face inward toward the oil while the hydrophilic, or water-loving, “head” of the surfactant face outward toward the water medium. The emergence of water-in-water emulsions consisting of droplets of a water-solvated biocompatible liquid crystals, disodium cromoglycate (5’DSCG), with polymers has unlocked the potential for modifying the self-assembly behavior of surfactants. We report here on the capacity of 5’DSCG to drive vesicle formation in surfactants that would otherwise form micelles, as well in bolaamphiphiles that would otherwise form lamellar bilayers. This behavior is two-pronged with the ability of these surfactants to form shiny, colorful liquid crystal droplets (a phenomenon known as birefringence which results from materials that modify light in such a way that it can pass through double polarizers that would otherwise allow no light through) at concentrations of 5’DSCG much lower than systems containing just 5’DSCG alone and water, indicating that while 5’DSCG promotes vesicle formation, the surfactants promote the “compression” of solvated 5’DSCG molecules. We also report on the ability of samples prepared via stock solutions to exhibit an odd-even effect in regards to the length of the aliphatic chain in vesicle formation, such that surfactants that have an even number of carbons actually have more difficulty forming vesicles than surfactants with an odd number of carbons in the chain because they aggregate, or pack together, more efficiently.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Included in

Chemistry Commons



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