On the necessity of using activities in the Gibbs equation

Reinhard Strey, Yrjö Viisanen, Makoto Aratono, Josip P. Kratohvil, Qi Yin, Stig E. Friberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)


We show that using mole fractions xs instead of activities as in the Gibbs equation for analyzing surface tension curves for onset of amphiphilic association may be open for discussion. First, we determined the activity coefficients for the simple binary water-ethanol and water-n-propanol systems from vapor pressure measurements. The activity coefficients are neither unity nor are they constant in the range where the surface tensions σ of the binary systems decrease from the water value down to the value of the pure alcohols. Second, a break in the σ vs ln xs curves disappears when proper σ vs ln as curves are constructed. The implication for determining critical micelle concentrations and headgroup areas of surfactants from surface tension curves is addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9112-9116
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number43
Publication statusPublished - Oct 28 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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