Joshua Killian, Jiaxi Xie


This poster reflects research conducted as part of a course project designed to give students experience in the research process.



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Self-assembly is the potential key to understanding how we can build useful chemical and biochemical systems from individual molecules up to macro structures. The modification of the makeup of a micellular solution and observation of some of the physical and chemical properties of the solution was the goal and purpose of this research. Specifically, the purpose was to determine the molecular trajectory of the formation of the micelles in solution and to attempt to explain different kinetic and thermodynamic pathways. This research explored the nature of surfactant micellular solutions that contained a headgroup of ammonium with a chloride counter-ion in three different tail-group compositions. The three solutions were cetyltrimethylammonium chloride, tetradecyltrimethylammonium chloride, and dodecyltrimethylammonium chloride. The solutions were modified by the addition of various species, most significantly, decyl alcohol, tetraethylorthosilicate, and benzene. They were subject to heating, cooling, and shaking to form different micelles. The solutions were tested by various methods, including IR runs and particle size analysis, of the clear, shaken cloudy, and temperature manipulated cloudy states. The results of this research showed that there were two pathways of micellular composition, a kinetic and a thermodynamic pathway. Future research could involve the further modifying the makeup of different micellular solutions by the addition of different types of alcohols, aromatic compounds, or silicate groups to determine if these trends are consistent across different micelle formations.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Course Project

Primary Advisor

Yoon S. Lee

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project

The Impact of External Stimuli on the Molecular Trajectory of Micelles Residing at the Stability Boundary