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from 6/29/2012

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 ďA micelle (pronounced /maɪˈsɛl/ or /maɪˈsiːl/, plural micelles, micella, or micellae) is an aggregate of surfactant molecules dispersed in a liquid colloid. A typical micelle in aqueous solution forms an aggregate with the hydrophilic "head" regions in contact with surrounding solvent, sequestering the hydrophobic single-tail regions in the micelle centre. This phase is caused by the insufficient packing issues[clarification needed] of single-tailed lipids in a bilayer. The difficulty filling all the volume of the interior of a bilayer, while accommodating the area per head group forced on the molecule by the hydration of the lipid head group, leads to the formation of the micelle. This type of micelle is known as a normal phase micelle (oil-in-water micelle). Inverse micelles have the head groups at the centre with the tails extending out (water-in-oil micelle). Micelles are approximately spherical in shape. Other phases, including shapes such as ellipsoids, cylinders, and bilayers, are also possible. The shape and size of a micelle is a function of the molecular geometry of its surfactant molecules and solution conditions such as surfactant concentration, temperature, pH, and ionic strength. The process of forming micelles is known as micellisation and forms part of the phase behavior of many lipids according to their polymorphism.

Inverse/reverse micelles

In a non-polar solvent, it is the exposure of the hydrophilic head groups to the surrounding solvent that is energetically unfavourable, giving rise to a water-in-oil system. In this case the hydrophilic groups are sequestered in the micelle core and the hydrophobic groups extend away from the centre. These inverse micelles are proportionally less likely to form on increasing headgroup charge, since hydrophilic sequestration would create highly unfavorable electrostatic interactions.

(Wikipedia, Micelles, 6/29/2012)


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(RDC 6/5/2012)


Roger D. Corneliussen

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Copyright 2012 by Roger D. Corneliussen.
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* Date of latest addition; date of first entry is 6/29/2012.