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Unifying model for the electrokinetic and phase behavior of aqueous suspensions containing short and long amphiphiles.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Langmuir
1520-5827
Publisher
American Chemical Society
Publication Date
Volume
27
Issue
19
Pages
11835–11844
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1021/la202384b
PMID: 21854027
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Aqueous suspensions containing oppositely charged colloidal particles and amphiphilic molecules can form fluid dispersions, foams, and percolating gel networks, depending on the initial concentration of amphiphiles. While models have been proposed to explain the electrokinetic and flotation behavior of particles in the presence of long amphiphilic molecules, the effect of amphiphiles with less than six carbons in the hydrocarbon tail on the electrokinetic, rheological, and foaming behavior of aqueous suspensions remains unclear. Unlike conventional long amphiphiles (≥10 carbons), short amphiphiles do not exhibit increased adsorption on the particle surface when the number of carbons in the molecule tail is increased. On the basis of classical electrical double layer theory and the formerly proposed hemimicelle concept, we put forward a new predictive model that reconciles the adsorption and electrokinetic behavior of colloidal particles in the presence of long and short amphiphiles. By introducing in the classical Gouy-Chapman theory an energy term associated with hydrophobic interactions between the amphiphile hydrocarbon tails, we show that amphiphilic electrolytes lead to a stronger compression of the diffuse part of the electrical double layer in comparison to hydrophilic electrolytes. Scaling relationships derived from this model provide a quantitative description of the rich phase behavior of the investigated suspensions, correctly accounting for the effect of the alkyl chain length of short and long amphiphiles on the electrokinetics of such colloidal systems. The proposed model contributes to our understanding of the stabilization mechanisms of particle-stabilized foams and emulsions and might provide new insights into the physicochemical processes involved in mineral flotation.

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