J. Phys. II France
Volume 7, Numéro 2, February 1997
Page(s) 229 - 248
DOI: 10.1051/jp2:1997121
J. Phys. II France 7 (1997) 229-248

Undulating Charged Fluid Membranes and their Bending Constants

A. Fogden1, J. Daicic2 and A. Kidane1

1  Physical Chemistry 1, Center for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, University of Lund, P.O. Box 124, 22100 Lund, Sweden
2  Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH-ITO/IFP, Grabenstrasse 3, 8952 Schlieren, Switzerland

(Received 2 August 1996, received in final form 29 October 1996, accepted 7 November 1996)

We consider harmonically undulating ionic surfactant membranes, calculating a general expression for the bending modulus valid for all salt and surfactant concentrations, and surface charge densities. This is achieved through a perturbative expansion of the meanfield electrostatic potential and free energy about a planar reference state, consisting of two parallel planar membranes with intervening salt solution. For a given choice of undulation mode, the result for the bending modulus is seen to be generally the same as that obtained from considerations of membranes deformed into a cylindrical geometry. Thus, we show that the bending modulus is independent of global aggregate geometry, at a general system composition. Specializing to the limit of excess added salt (equivalent to a single undulating membrane in contact with bulk electrolyte), we are able to extend the free energy calculation to fourth order in undulation amplitude, and derive the bending constants of the curvature expansion to this order. These have been suggested previously to be of importance in explaining the stability of bicontinuous crystalline and disordered phases, and the formation of passages in lamellar phases. We also discuss the breakdown of the curvature description at shorter wavelengths.

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