Thomas, J. Kerry Department of Chemistry, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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A colloidal aggregate of a unique number (50–100) of amphiphilic (also called amphipathic) molecules, which occurs at a well-defined concentration called the critical micelle concentration. Typical amphiphilic molecules are sodium lauryl sulfate, cetyl trimethyl ammonium bromide, and octyl phenol ethoxylates such as TritonTM X-100 [C14H22O(C2H4O)n]; all contain both a hydrophobic and a hydrophilic moiety. In polar media such as water, the hydrophobic part of the amphiphiles forming the micelle tends to locate away from the polar phase, while the polar parts of the molecule (head groups) tend to locate at the polar micelle or solvent interface.
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