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micelle

Pronunciation: mi-sel', mi-sel'

Definition:

  1. Nägeli term for elongated sub(light)microscopic particles, detected in hydrogels, of supramolecular character and crystalline structure; now defined as one of two classes of colloidal particle: those consisting of many molecules, the other class being single macromolecules light- or submicroscopic in size. A micelle is thus a structural unit of the disperse phase in a gel, a unit whose repetition in three dimensions constitutes the micellar structure of the gel; it does not denote the individual particles in free suspension or solution, or the unit structure of a crystal.
  2. Any water-soluble aggregate, spontaneously and reversibly, formed from amphiphile molecules.
  3. A hypothetical ordered region in a natural fiber such as cellulose.

[L. micella, small morsel, dim. of mica, morsel, grain]

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© Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.
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