By evaporating a drop of lipid dispersion we generate the myelin morphology often seen in dissolving surfactant powders. We explain these puzzling nonequilibrium structures using a geometric argument: the bilayer repeat spacing increases and thus the repulsion between bilayers decreases when a multilamellar disk is converted into a myelin without gain or loss of material and with number of bilayers unchanged. Sufficient reduction in bilayer repulsion can compensate for the cost in curvature energy, leading to a net stability of the myelin structure. A numerical estimate predicts the degree of dehydration required to favor myelin structures over flat lamellae.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Surfaces and Interfaces