Tuning the Aggregation of Titanate Nanowires in Aqueous Dispersions
Electrophoretic and dynamic light scattering (DLS) measurements revealed that aggregation in aqueous dispersion of titanate nanowires (TiONWs) can be tuned by poly(diallyldimethylammonium) chloride (PDADMAC) polyelectrolyte. The nanowires possessed negative charge under alkaline conditions which was compensated by the oppositely charged PDADMAC adsorbed on the surface. Such adsorption led to charge neutralization and subsequent charge reversal at the appropriate polyelectrolyte doses. The dispersions were stable at low PDADMAC concentration where the TiONWs possessed negative charge. However, fast aggregation of the nanowires occurred close to the charge neutralization point where the overall charge of the particles was zero. Charge inversion at high polyelectrolyte doses gave rise to restabilization of the samples and slow aggregation of the TiONWs even at higher ionic strengths where the original bare TiONW dispersions were unstable. The colloid stability of the bare nanowires can be explained well qualitatively by the Derjaguin, Landau, Verwey, and Overbeek (DLVO) theory; however, polyelectrolyte adsorption led to additional patch-charge attractions and osmotic repulsion between the particles. On the basis of the knowledge generated by the present work, experimental conditions (e.g., salt level, polyelectrolyte, and particle concentrations) can be adjusted in order to design stable and processable aqueous dispersions of TiONWs for further applications.