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Surface tension

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surface tension
Type of information:
read-across from supporting substance (structural analogue or surrogate)
Adequacy of study:
key study
Justification for type of information:
The hypothesis is that the category members have similar structures and properties (lack of significant surface activity), which are consistent across the category (Scenario 6 in the RAAF). The consistency of this property across the category is discussed in the endpoint summary.

Please refer to the test material identity information within each endpoint study record and in the endpoint summary. The source chemicals and the target chemical are linear aliphatic alcohols which are members of the long chain linear aliphatic alcohol Category.

The long chain linear aliphatic alcohol Category has at its centre an homologous series of increasing carbon chain length alcohols. The category members are structurally very similar. They are all primary aliphatic alcohols with no other functional groups. The category members are linear or contain a single short-chain side-branch at the 2-position in the alkyl chain, which does not significantly affect the properties (‘essentially linear’). The category members have saturated alkyl chains or contain a small proportion of naturally-occurring unsaturation(s) which does not significantly affect the properties. The branched and unsaturated structures are considered to have such similar properties that their inclusion in the category is well justified.
Impurities: Linear and/or ‘essentially linear’ long chain aliphatic alcohols of other chain lengths may be present. These are not expected to contribute significantly to the properties in respect of this endpoint due to consistent properties (see point 3).
There are no impurities present at or above 1% which are not category members or which would affect the properties of the substance.

The category members are structurally very similar (see point 2) and are biochemically very similar. The metabolic synthesis and degradation pathways are well established. This Category is associated with a consistency and predictability in the physicochemical, environmental, and toxicological property data across its members.

The consistency of observations in this property across the range of chain lengths covered by this Category is described in the Endpoint Summary and in the Category Report attached in Section 13.

In this registration, the information requirement is fulfilled based on read-across from data for oleyl alcohol within the category which has the closest chain length and physicochemical properties.

A data matrix for the C6-24 alcohols Category is attached in Section 13.
Reason / purpose:
read-across source
GLP compliance:
Type of method:
plate method
Surface tension:
66.53 mN/m
22.5 °C
0.2 mg/L
Remarks on result:
surface tension
Type of information:
experimental study
Adequacy of study:
key study
2 (reliable with restrictions)
Rationale for reliability incl. deficiencies:
study well documented, meets generally accepted scientific principles, acceptable for assessment
no guideline followed
Principles of method if other than guideline:
Equilibrium surface tension was measured using the Wilhelmy Plate Technique.
GLP compliance:
not specified
Type of method:
plate method
Key result
Surface tension:
66.53 mN/m
25 °C
0.101 other: mg/m2
Remarks on result:
other: Water solubility of Oleyl Alcohol: 0.042mg/L. In the study oleyl alcohol is assumed to be "insoluble". Concentrations are reported as surface concentrations only.

The results in full are shown in Table 1.

Table 1 - Oleyl alcohol surface tension results

Concentration (mg.m-2)
Temperature (deg C) 0.0265 0.0398 0.053 0.101
  Oleyl Alcohol surface tension mN.m-1
15   69.31 68.56  
16 70.64 69.2 64.41 67.67
17 7047 69.03 68.24 67.57
18 70.29 68.84 68.06 67.41
19 70.13 68.66 61.89 67.26
20 69.96 68.47 67.81 67.12
21 69.77 68.28 67.65 66.94
22 69.58 68.09 67.44 66.78
23 69.43 67.92 67.33 66.66
24 69.27 67.75 67.17 66.59
25 69.13 67.73 67.04 66.53
26 69.02 67.68 67.01 66.47
27 38.98 67.69 67.11 66.39
28 68.93 67.67 67.15 66.39
29 68.91 67.61 67.17 66.36
30 68.91 67.66 67.31 66.42
31 68.9 67.62 67.34 66.44
32 68.95   67.26 66.51
33       66.57
A surface tension value of 66.5 mN/m at a concentration at the surface of 0.101 mg/m2 was determined at 25ºC in a reliable study conducted according to generally accepted scientific principles.

Description of key information

The surface tension of docosan-1-ol is not available therefore a reliable value is read across from a close structural analogue. A value of ca. 66.5 mN/m at ca. 90% saturated aqueous solution is estimated by read-across from (Z)-octadec-9-enol. The surface tension of (Z)-octadec-9-enol is 66.5 mN/m at 25°C and ca. 90% saturated aqueous solution.

n-Aliphatic alcohols consist of a lipophilic alkyl chain combined with a hydroxyl head group which is mildly hydrophilic. A preliminary assessment by calculated Hydrophilic Lipophilic Balance suggests that no surface tension lowering property would be expected on the basis of structure alone.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Surface tension:

Additional information

A preliminary assessment by calculated Hydrophilic Lipophilic Balance suggests that no surface tension lowering property would be expected on the basis of structure alone.

The main purpose of determining surface tension is to assess whether a substance is a surfactant and not able to have a log Kowtest done.

The reported measurement, for a highly pure sample, is at ca. 90% aqueous solution based on the limit of solubility of the highly pure alcohol as reported in the literature.

Discussion of trends in the Category of C6-24 linear and essentially-linear aliphatic alcohols:

Chemical derivatives of many of the alcohols in this group are products which have commercial uses relating to their properties as surface active agents. The alcohols themselves are not surface active. Whilst the preliminary assessment by Hydrophilic Lipophilic Balance (HLB) suggests that the shortest chain members of the Category (C6 - C8) could be water/oil emulsifiers, this should not be over-interpreted. They are co-surfactants used to modify the properties of other surfactants.

Above C8 there is no alert based on HLB for any surface tension lowering property.