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Structure and Dynamics of Bimodal Colloidal Dispersions in a Low-Molecular Weight Polymer Solution



Fan Zhang, Andrew J. Allen, Lyle E. Levine, De-Hao Tsai, Jan Ilavsky


We present an experimental study of the structural and dynamical properties of bimodal, micrometer-sized colloidal dispersions (size ratio ≈ 2) in an aqueous solution of low-molecular weight polymer (polyethylene glycol 2000) using synchrotron ultra-small angle X-ray scattering (USAXS) and USAXS-based X-ray photon correlation spectroscopy. We fixed the volume fraction of the large particles at 5 % and systematically increased the volume fraction of the small particles from 0 % to 5 % to evaluate its effect on the structure and dynamics. The bimodal dispersions were homogenous through the investigated parameter space. We found that the partial structure factors can be satisfactorily retrieved for the bimodal colloidal dispersions using a Percus-Yevick hard sphere potential when the particle size distributions of the particles were taken into account. We also found that the partial structure factor between the large particles does not exhibit significant variation with increasing volume fraction of small particles, whereas the isothermal compressibility of the binary mixture was found to decrease with increasing volume fraction of small particles. The dynamics of single-component large particle dispersion obey the principles of de Gennes narrowing, where the wave vector dependence of the interparticle diffusion coefficient is inversely proportional to the interparticle structure factor. The dynamics of the bimodal dispersions demonstrate strong dependence on the fraction of small particles. We also made a comparison between the experimental effective dynamic viscosity of the bimodal dispersion with theoretical predictions, which suggest that the complex mutual interactions between large and small particles have a strong effect on the dynamic behaviors of bimodal dispersions.


structure, dynamics, bimodal colloidal dispersions


Zhang, F. , Allen, A. , Levine, L. , Tsai, D. and Ilavsky, J. (2017), Structure and Dynamics of Bimodal Colloidal Dispersions in a Low-Molecular Weight Polymer Solution, Langmuir, [online], (Accessed May 28, 2023)
Created February 24, 2017, Updated January 27, 2020