Interparticle forces in silica nanoparticle agglomerates
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To improve the understanding of the poor dispersability of fumed silica nanoparticle agglomerates, the stability of highly defined agglomerated model particles was investigated. The high temperature synthesis conditions for fumed silica were simulated by tempering. Along with electron-microscopical analysis of the sintering necks, the interparticle forces were investigated by energy resolved fragmentation analysis based on low pressure impaction. At temperatures above 1,000 °C the fragmentability of the agglomerates rapidly decreased while the energy necessary for fragmentation increased. The development of sintering necks was observed for temperatures exceeding 1,300 °C. Comparison of the experimental data with the fragmentation behaviour of a commercially produced fumed silica indicated solid state contacts (sintering necks) as being most numerous in the agglomerates resulting in limited fragmentability.