The European Physical Journal E

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 255–263 | Cite as

Particle thermophoresis in liquids

  • A. ParolaEmail author
  • R. Piazza


We present a microscopic description of thermophoretic phenomena in dilute suspensions of spherical colloids. The specific particle/solvent interfacial interactions generate a force density field \( \bf F\) on the surrounding fluid which in turn gives rise to an “effective force” on the colloid. In our approach, such a force turns out to be solely related to the non-conservative anisotropic contribution to \( \bf F\) brought forth by the thermal gradient. By adopting a Smoluchowski picture of colloid motion, we find a general expression for the Soret coefficient ST, which we apply to the specific cases of neutral colloids in pure solvent and of Debye-Hückel systems. For the latter, our result for ST agrees with those obtained by previous hydrodynamic approaches.


82.70.Dd Colloids 66.10.Cb Diffusion and thermal diffusion 


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© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.INFM and Dipartimento di Fisica e MatematicaUniversità dell’InsubriaComoItaly
  2. 2.INFM and Dipartimento di Ingegneria NuclearePolitecnico di MilanoMilanoItaly

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