Pressure effects on both the curvature and phase behavior of water-in-oil microemulsions (swollen reverse micelles) are predicted with a unified classical and molecular thermodynamic theory developed by Peck et al. (this issue). The theory is used to identify quantitatively the roles of the intramicellar interfacial interactions and micelle-micelle interactions. A supplementary molecular model is used to calculate the strength of attractive intermicellar interactions over a wide range of conditions, based on previous small-angle neutron-scattering data. An important distinction is made between systems with a small water-to-oil ratio and those where the water-to-oil ratio is much larger, on the order of unity. In the latter the micelle radius is controlled primarily by intramicellar interfacial interactions, specifically the enthalpic propane-surfactant tail interactions. For a small water-to-oil ratio, the micelle radius is limited by attractive micelle-micelle interactions. As pressure increases, the radius increases but eventually reaches a maximum governed by the intramicellar interfacial interactions. There is good agreement between the predictions and experiments over a wide range of water-to-oil ratios.
A unified classical and molecular thermodynamic model is developed in order to predict the phase behavior and interfacial properties of spherical water-in-oil microemulsions. A modified Flory-Krigbaum theory is used to describe the interactions between the surfactant tails and solvent, while the ionic head-group interactions are treated with the Poisson-Boltzman equation. The interfacial tension and the bending moment of the interface are calculated explicitly. These values are incorporated into a classical thermodynamic framework that is forced to satisfy the Gibbs adsorption equation on the interface, guaranteeing thermodynamic consistency. Given a surfactant molecular architecture, the model predicts the size of microemulsion droplets as a function of the chain length of the alkane solvent. For bis(2-ethylhexyl) sodium sulfosuccinate (AOT) in the solvents propane through decane, the calculated trends agree with experiment and are explained mechanistically at the molecular level. The microemulsion radius increases for the solvents pentane through propane, an unusual behavior that is explained theoretically.