Lihua Wei

Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

David Hartman, Wei Ping Pan, Martin Houston

Degree Program

Department of Chemistry

Degree Type

Master of Science


Phospholipids are the major structural components of the lipid portion of biological membranes. The study of the thermal properties of these phospholipid provides a systematic understanding of the relationships between the chemical structures and functional properties of phospholipid molecules in artificial and biological membranes. This study examined the thermal behavior of phospholipids in the solid state using DSC and TG coupled with FITR. The phospholipids were found to have phase transitions below the melting point. Egg-yolk lecithin had four transitions below its melting point; sphingomyelin had two phase transitions below its melting point. Phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylserine had complex phase transitions. The water content of the lipids affected the phase transitions. The water content of the lipids affected the phase transition. In this study, TG provided a quicker, an easier and more accurate way to find the percentage of water in lipids. Most of the phospholipids existed in the hydrated state, and different lipids were associated with different amounts of water. One mole of egg-yolk lecithin was associated with one to two moles of water. One mole of phosphatidylethanolamine contained two moles of water. Phosphatidylserine was a monohydrate, and one mole of sphingomyelin associated with two moles of water, a dehydrate.


Biology | Chemistry | Life Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics