Uncovering the secrets of 'surface active Agents'

15 June 2010
Cara Morgan

Following work done by the 'Oxford Spies' we uncover more secrets of 'surface-active Agents'. In modern-day applications we refer to these agents as surfactants, which are now extensively used in industrial, chemical, biological and domestic applications. Our work focuses on the dynamic behaviour of surfactant and polymer-surfactant mixtures.

In this talk we propose a mathematical model that incorporates the effects of diffusion, advection and reactions to describe the dynamic behaviour of such systems and apply the model to the over-flowing-cylinder experiment (OFC). We solve the governing equations of the model numerically and, by exploiting large parameters in the model, obtain analytical asymptotic solutions for the concentrations of the bulk species in the system. Thus, these solutions uncover secrets of the 'surface-active Agents' and provide an important insight into the system behaviour, predicting the regimes under which we observe phase transitions of the species in the system. Finally, we suggest how our models can be extended to uncover the secrets of more complex systems in the field.

  • Junior Applied Mathematics Seminar