Microcalorimetric studies on alkylphosphate-butanol and alkylphosphate-butanol-lecithin systems were carried out as a first step to study the role of butanol (used as cosurfactant) in the formation of microemulsions. The enthalpy of solubilization; delta H, of the same amount of butanol (1.806 mol kg-1) in aqueous sodium monoalkyl-phosphates, with a hydrocarbon chain varying from 6 to 10 carbon atoms, was investigated as a function of alkylphosphate concentration. Measurements were performed in the presence and in the absence of lecithin. The enthalpy values measured upon addition of butanol to the mixtures were negative in all cases. Below the critical micelle concentration (CMC) of the alkylphosphates, the heats of butanol dissolution were found to decrease upon increasing the concentration of the alkylphosphate. This behaviour was related to the dissolution of butanol in water and to the formation of mixed butanol-alkylphosphate and butanol-alkylphosphate-lecithin micelles. Above the CMC essentially constant delta H values were found. The delta H measured may be the sum of simultaneous effects--heat of alcohol dissolution and the simple alkylphosphate micelle dissociation or alkylphosphate-lecithin mixed aggregate dissociation and the heat of mixed micelle formation. The delta H at the plateaus were linearly related to the corresponding CMC values of the alkylphosphates.
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