Thermal ageing of triacylglycerides (TAG) at high temperatures produces films which resist removal using aqueous surfactant solutions. We used a mass loss method to investigate the removal of thermally aged TAG films from hard surfaces using aqueous solutions of surfactants of different charge types. It was found that cationic surfactants are most effective at high pH, whereas anionics are most effective at low pH and a non-ionic surfactant is most effective at intermediate pH. We showed that the TAG film removal process occurs in several stages. In the first ‘‘lag phase’’ no TAG removal occurs; the surfactant first partitions into the thermally aged film. In the second stage, the TAG film containing surfactant was removed by solubilisation into micelles in the aqueous solution. The effects of pH and surfactant charge on the TAG removal process correlate with the effects of these variables on the extent of surfactant partitioning to the TAG film and on the maximum extent of TAG solubilisation within the micelles. Additionally, we showed how the TAG removal is enhanced by the addition of amphiphilic additives such as alcohols which act as co-surfactants. The study demonstrates that aqueous surfactant solutions provide a viable and more benign alternative to current methods for the removal of thermally aged TAG films.
Dunstan, T. S., & Fletcher, P. D. I. (2014). The removal of thermally aged films of triacylglycerides by surfactant solutions. Journal of surfactants and detergents, 17(5), 899-910. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11743-013-1514-9