Phase behaviour of a dispersion of charge-stabilised colloidal spheres with added non-adsorbing interacting polymer chains

  • C. Gögelein
  • R. Tuinier
Regular Article

DOI: 10.1140/epje/i2008-10367-6

Cite this article as:
Gögelein, C. & Tuinier, R. Eur. Phys. J. E (2008) 27: 171. doi:10.1140/epje/i2008-10367-6


We present a theory for the phase behaviour of mixtures of charge-stabilised colloidal spheres plus interacting polymer chains in good and θ -solvents within the framework of free-volume theory. We use simple but accurate combination rules for the depletion thickness around a colloidal particle and for the osmotic pressure up to the semi-dilute concentration regime. Hence, we obtain expressions for the free energy for mixtures of charged colloidal particles and non-adsorbing interacting polymers. From that, we calculate the phase behaviour, and discuss its topology in dependence on the competition between the charge-induced repulsion and the polymer-induced attraction. The homogeneous mixture of colloids and polymers becomes more stabilised against demixing when increasing the electrostatic repulsion. This charge-induced stabilisation is strongest for small polymer-to-colloid size ratios and is more pronounced for charged colloids mixed with polymers in a good solvent than for polymers in a θ -solvent. For the weakly charged regime we find that the phase diagram becomes salt-concentration-independent in the protein limit for charged colloids plus polymers in a θ -solvent. The liquid window, i.e., the concentration regimes where a colloidal liquid exists, is narrowed down upon increasing the charge-induced repulsion. Also this effect is more pronounced when charged colloids are mixed with polymer chains in a good solvent. In summary, we demonstrate that the solvent quality significantly influences the phase behaviour of mixtures of charged colloids plus non-adsorbing polymers if the range of the screened electrostatic repulsion becomes of the order of the range of the depletion-induced attraction.


82.70.Dd Colloids 61.25.H- Macromolecular and polymers solutions; polymer melts 68.35.Rh Phase transitions and critical phenomena 

Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Gögelein
    • 1
  • R. Tuinier
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für FestkörperforschungTeilinstitut Weiche Materie, Forschungszentrum JülichJülichGermany

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