Ultrastable foams are made very simply by adding salt (NaCl or KCl) to sodium dodecyl sulfate. The addition of high concentrations of salt leads to the precipitation of the surfactant on the bubble surfaces and as crystals in the interstices between the bubbles. As a consequence, the ageing of the foams is stopped to make them stable indefinitely, or until they are heated above the melting temperature of the crystals. The use of KCl is shown to be much more effective than that of NaCl because potassium dodecyl sulfate has a higher melting temperature and faster rates of crystallization. The crystalline structures have been investigated inside the foam using small angle neutron scattering. The larger lattice spacing of the crystals formed with NaCl in comparison with KCl has been evidenced. These simple temperature stimulable foams could have many potential applications.
Li Zhang, Alesya Mikhailovskaya, Pavel Yazhgur, François Muller, Fabrice Cousin, Dominique Langevin, Nan Wang and Dr. Anniina Salonen
Precipitating Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate to Create Ultrastable and Stimulable Foams