American Chemical Society
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Packing, Flipping, and Buckling Transitions in Compressed Monolayers of Ellipsoidal Latex Particles

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posted on 2006-07-18, 00:00 authored by M. G. Basavaraj, G. G. Fuller, J. Fransaer, J. Vermant
The behavior of monolayers of monodisperse prolate ellipsoidal latex particles with the same surface chemistry but varying aspect ratio has been studied experimentally. Particle monolayers at an air−water interface were subjected to compression in a Langmuir trough. When surface pressure measurements and microscopy observations were combined, possible structural transitions were evaluated. Ellipsoids of a sufficiently large aspect ratio display a less abrupt increase in the compression isotherms than spherical particles. Microscopic observations reveal that a sequence of transitions is responsible for this more gradual increase of the surface pressure. When a percolating aggregate network is used as the starting point, locally ordered regions appear progressively. When it reaches a certain surface pressure, the system “jams”, and in-plane rearrangements are no longer possible at this point. A highly localized yielding of the particle network is observed. The compressional stress is relieved by flipping the ellipsoids into an upright position and by expelling particles from the monolayer. The latter does not occur for spherical particles with similar dimensions and surface chemistry. In the final stage of compression, buckling of the monolayer as a whole was observed. The effect of aspect ratio on the pressure area isotherms and on the obtained percolation and packing thresholds was quantified.