Colloidal Systems in Concentrated Electrolyte Solutions Exhibit Re-entrant Long-Range Electrostatic Interactions due to Underscreening

Haiyang Yuan, Wenjie Deng, Xiaolong Zhu, Guangming Liu*, Vincent Stuart James Craig*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Surface force measurements have revealed that at very high electrolyte concentrations as well as in neat and diluted ionic liquids and deep eutectic solvents, the range of electrostatic interactions is far greater than the Debye length. Here, we explore the consequences of this underscreening for soft-matter and colloidal systems by investigating the stability of nanoparticle dispersions, the self-assembly of ionic surfactants, and the thickness of soap films. In each case, we find clear evidence of re-entrant properties due to underscreening at high salt concentrations. Our results show that underscreening in concentrated electrolytes is a general phenomenon and is not dependent on confinement by macroscopic surfaces. The stability of systems at very high salinity due to underscreening may be beneficially applied to processes that currently use low-salinity water.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)6164-6173
    Number of pages10
    JournalLangmuir
    Volume38
    Issue number19
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2022

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