Journal article

Aggregation and Charging of Colloidal Silica Particles: Effect of Particle Size

We studied systematically aqueous suspensions of amorphous well-characterized silica particles by potentiometric titration, electrophoretic mobility, and time-resolved light scattering. Their charging behavior and aggregation rate constants were measured as a function of pH and ionic strength in KCl electrolytes for three types of particles of approximately 30, 50, and 80 nm in diameter. The charging behavior was consistent with the basic Stern model; the silica particles carry a negative charge, and its magnitude gradually increases with increasing pHand ionic strength. On the other hand, their early-stage aggregation (or coagulation) behavior is complex. The aggregation of the largest particles shows features resembling predictions of the Derjaguin, Landau, Verwey, and Overbeek (DLVO) theory. On one hand, the rate constant decreases sharply with increasing pHat lowionic strengths and attains fast aggregation conditions at high ionic strengths. On the other hand, we observe a characteristic slowing down of the aggregation at low pHand high ionic strengths. This feature becomes very pronounced for the mediumand the small particles, leading to a complete stabilization at low pH for the latter. Stabilization is also observed at higher pH for the medium and the small particles. From these aggregation measurements we infer the existence of an additional repulsive force. Its origin is tentatively explained by postulating hairy layers of consisting of poly(silicilic acid) chains on the particle surface.


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