Irreversible nanogel formation in surfactant solutions by microporous flow

Mukund Vasudevan, Eric Buse, Donglai Lu, Hare Krishna, Ramki Kalyanaraman, Amy Q. Shen, Bamin Khomami, Radhakrishna Sureshkumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Self-assembly of surfactant molecules into micelles of various shapes and forms has been extensively used to synthesize soft nanomaterials. Translucent solutions containing rod-like surfactant micelles can self-organize under flow to form viscoelastic gels. This flow-induced structure (FIS) formation has excited much fundamental research and pragmatic interest as a cost-effective manufacturing route for active nanomaterials. However, its practical impact has been very limited because all reported FIS transitions are reversible because the gel disintegrates soon after flow stoppage. We present a new microfluidics-assisted robust laminar-flow process, which allows for the generation of extension rates many orders of magnitude greater than is realizable in conventional devices, to produce purely flow-induced permanent nanogels. Cryogenic transmission electron microscopy imaging of the gel reveals a partially aligned micelle network. The critical flow rate for gel formation is consistent with the Turner-Cates fusion mechanism, proposed originally to explain reversible FIS formation in rod-like micelle solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)436-441
Number of pages6
JournalNature materials
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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