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Electric Permittivity and Dynamic Mobility of Dilute Suspensions of Platelike Gibbsite Particles

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journal contribution
posted on 28.07.2015, 00:00 authored by M. Alejandro González, Ángel V. Delgado, Raúl A. Rica, María L. Jiménez, Silvia Ahualli
In this work we discuss the electrokinetic evaluation of model platelike particles. By model particles we mean homogeneous and controlled size and shape. The electrokinetic analysis in such complex geometries cannot be limited to a single data point as in usual electrophoresis in constant (dc) fields. The information can be made much richer if alternating (ac) fields with a sufficiently wide range of frequencies are used. In this case, two techniques can be applied: one is the determination of the frequency spectrum of the electric permittivity or dielectric constant (low-frequency dielectric dispersion), and the other is the electroacoustics of suspensions and the determination of the frequency dispersion of the electrophoretic mobility (dynamic or ac mobility). In this work, these techniques are used with planar gibbsite (γ-Al­(OH)3) particles, modeled as oblate spheroids with a small aspect ratio. As in other laminar minerals, a particular charge distribution, differing between edges and faces, gives rise to very peculiar electrokinetic behavior. It is found that pH 7 approximately separates two distinct field responses: below that pH the dielectric dispersion and dynamic mobility data are consistent with the existence of individual, highly charged platelets, with charge mainly originating on edge surfaces. At pH 4, a low-frequency relaxation is observed, which must originated from larger particles. It is suggested that these are individual ones bridged by negatively charged fiberlike structures, coming from the partial decomposition of gibbsite particles. On the other side of the measured pH spectrum, the overall charge of the particles is low, and this probably produces aggregates with a relatively large average size, with relaxation frequencies on the low side. This is confirmed by dynamic mobility data, showing that a coherent picture of the nanostructure can be reached by combining the two techniques.