Solubilization in Amphiphilic Copolymer Solutions
192The solubilization of hydrophobic compounds in aqueous solutions of amphophilic copolymers is important in many practical applications. We provide here an overview of micelle formation by copolymers, and then discuss the effect of polymer type and structure and solute hydrophobicity on micellar solubilization. The influence of solution conditions, such as temperature, pH, and ionic strength, on the micellar properties and, consequently, on the solubilization behavior are also examined. Finally, phenomenological and mean-field lattice theories of micelle formation and solubilization in block copolymer solutions are described, and the predictions of these theories are compared to the experimental observations. The solubilization in amphiphilic copolymer micelles is affected by the detailed microstructure of the aggregates, which in turn depends on both polymer and solute structure, and solution conditions. This allows a great deal of flexibility in designing novel solvents which can be used as extract-ants and solubilizers in a variety of pharmaceutical, biological, and industrial applications.