There is a relatively small range of concentrations separating the limit below which virtually no @M03889@ are detected and the limit above which virtually all additional surfactant molecules form micelles. Many properties of surfactant solutions, if plotted against the concentration, appear to change at a different rate above and below this range. By extrapolating the loci of such a property above and below this range until they intersect, a value may be obtained known as the critical micellization concentration (critical @M03889@ concentration), symbol \(c_{\text{M}}\), abbreviation cmc (or c.m.c.). As values obtained using different properties are not quite identical, the method by which the cmc is determined should be clearly stated.
See also:
inverted micelle
PAC, 1994, 66, 1077. (Glossary of terms used in physical organic chemistry (IUPAC Recommendations 1994)) on page 1101 [Terms] [Paper]