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Title: Aggregation and stability of anisotropic charged clay colloids in aqueous medium in the presence of salt
Authors: Ali, Samim
Bandyopadhyay, Ranjini
Issue Date: Apr-2016
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry
Citation: Farady Discussions, 2016, Vol. 186, p 455-471
Abstract: Na-montmorillonite nanoclay is a colloid of layered mineral silicate. When dispersed in water, this mineral swells on absorption of water and exfoliates into platelets with electric double layers on their surfaces. Even at low particle concentration, the aqueous dispersion can exhibit a spontaneous ergodicity breaking phase transition from a free flowing liquid to nonequilibrium, kinetically arrested and disordered states such as gels and glasses. In an earlier publication [Applied Clay Science, 2015, 114, 8592], we showed that the stability of clay gels can be enhanced by adding a salt later to the clay dispersion prepared in deionized water, rather than by adding the clay mineral to a previously mixed salt solution. Here, we directly track the collapsing interface of sedimenting clay gels using an optical method and show that adding salt after dispersing the clay mineral does indeed result in more stable gels even in very dilute dispersions. These weak gels are seen to exhibit a transient collapse after a finite delay time, a phenomenon observed previously in depletion gels. The velocity of the collapse oscillates with the age of the sample. However, the average velocity of collapse increases with sample age up to a peak value before decreasing at higher ages. With increasing salt concentration, the delay time for transient collapse decreases, while the peak value of the collapsing velocity increases. Using ultrasound attenuation spectroscopy, rheometry and cryogenic scanning electron microscopy, we confirm that morphological changes of the gel network assembly, facilitated by thermal fluctuations, lead to the observed collapse phenomenon. Since clay minerals are used extensively in polymer nanocomposites, as rheological modifiers, stabilizers and gas absorbents, we believe that the results reported in this work are extremely useful for several practical applications and also for understanding geophysical phenomena such as the formation and stability of quicksand and river deltas.
Description: Restricted Access.
ISSN: 1359-6640
Alternative Location: 10.1039/C5FD00124B
Copyright: 2016 Royal Society of Chemistry
Appears in Collections:Research Papers (SCM)

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