Swelling and shrinking kinetics of a lamellar gel phase
Egelhaaf, Stefan U
Fairhurst, David John
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We investigate the swelling and shrinking of L-beta lamellar gel phases composed of surfactant and fatty alcohol after contact with aqueous poly(ethyleneglycol) solutions. The height change Delta h(t) is diffusionlike with a swelling coefficient S: Delta h=S root t. On increasing polymer concentration, we observe sequentially slower swelling, absence of swelling, and finally shrinking of the lamellar phase. This behavior is summarized in a nonequilibrium diagram and the composition dependence of S quantitatively described by a generic model. We find a diffusion coefficient, the only free parameter, consistent with previous measurements.