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Effects of Ionic Strength on the Colloidal Stability and Interfacial Assembly of Hydrophobic Ethyl Cellulose Nanoparticles

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journal contribution
posted on 01.09.2015, 00:00 by Navid Bizmark, Marios A. Ioannidis
Nanoparticle attachment at a fluid interface is a process that often takes place concurrently with nanoparticle aggregation in the bulk of the suspension. Here we investigate systematically the coupling of these processes with reference to the adsorption of aqueous suspensions of ethyl cellulose (EC) nanoparticles at the air–water interface. The suspension stability is optimal at neutral pH and in the absence of salt, conditions under which the electrostatic repulsion among EC nanoparticles is maximized. Nonetheless, hydrophobic attraction dominates particle–interface interactions, resulting in the irreversible adsorption of EC nanoparticles at the air–water interface. The addition of salt weakens the particle–particle and particle–interface repulsive electrostatic forces. This leads to destabilization of the suspension at ionic strengths of 0.05 M or greater but does not affect nanoparticle adsorption. The energy of adsorption, the surface tension and interface coverage at steady state, and the particle contact angle at the interface all remain unchanged by the addition of salt. These findings contribute to the fundamental understanding of colloidal systems and inform the utilization of EC nanocolloids, in particular for the stabilization of foams and emulsions.