Phase behaviour of colloids plus weakly adhesive polymers

Abstract.

The phase behaviour of a colloidal dispersion mediated by weakly adhesive polymers is considered. The polymers are depleted but are weakly adhesive and hence comprise a non-zero polymer concentration at the colloid’s surface, in contrast to the classical assumption in depletion theories involving a zero polymer concentration at the surface. The theory is composed of a generalized free-volume theory for colloid-polymer mixtures and a self-consistent mean-field theory for polymers at surfaces. It is found that the weak adhesion of the polymers shifts the phase stability of the colloid-polymer mixtures to higher polymer concentrations as compared to assuming a full depletion effect. The predicted phase diagrams employing the new theory are consistent with experiments on mixtures of silica spheres coated with stearyl alcohol and polydimethylsiloxane in cyclohexane and with Monte Carlo simulation results.

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Tuinier, R., Ouhajji, S. & Linse, P. Phase behaviour of colloids plus weakly adhesive polymers. Eur. Phys. J. E 39, 115 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1140/epje/i2016-16115-5

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Keywords

  • Soft Matter: Colloids and Nanoparticles