The Equilibrium Spreading Tension of Pulmonary Surfactant

Maayan P. Dagan, Stephen B. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Monomolecular films at an air/water interface coexist at the equilibrium spreading tension (γe) with the bulk phase from which they form. For individual phospholipids, γe is single-valued, and separates conditions at which hydrated vesicles adsorb from tensions at which overcompressed monolayers collapse. With pulmonary surfactant, isotherms show that monolayers compressed on the surface of bubbles coexist with the three-dimensional collapsed phase over a range of surface tensions. γe therefore represents a range rather than a single value of surface tension. Between the upper and lower ends of this range, rates of collapse for spread and adsorbed films decrease substantially. Changes during adsorption across this narrow region of coexistence between the two- and three-dimensional structures at least partially explain how alveolar films of pulmonary surfactant become resistant to collapse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13063-13067
Number of pages5
Issue number48
StatePublished - Nov 19 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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