4 years ago

Electrolyte-induced Instability of Colloidal Dispersions in Nonpolar Solvents

Electrolyte-induced Instability of Colloidal Dispersions in Nonpolar Solvents
Sarah E. Rogers, Paul Bartlett, Julian Eastoe, Gregory N. Smith, Samuel D. Finlayson
Dispersions of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) latexes were prepared in a low dielectric, nonpolar solvent (dodecane) both with and without the oil-soluble electrolyte, tetradodecylammonium-tetrakis(3,5-bis(trifluoromethyl)phenyl)borate. For dispersions with a high concentration of background electrolyte, the latexes become colloidally unstable and sediment in a short period of time (<1 h). This is completely reversible upon dilution. Instability of the dispersions is due to an apparent attraction between the colloids, directly observed using optical tweezers by bringing optically trapped particles into close proximity. Simple explanations generally used by colloid scientists to explain loss of stability (charge screening or stabilizer collapse) are insufficient to explain this observation. This unexpected interaction seems, therefore, to be a consequence of the materials that can be dispersed in low dielectric media and is expected to have ramifications for studying colloids in such solvents.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b01685

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b01685

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