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Issue 27, 2018
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Thermal processing of thermogelling nanoemulsions as a route to tune material properties

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Abstract

Many soft matter systems have properties which depend on their processing history. It is generally accepted that material properties can be finely tuned by carefully directing self-assembly. However, for gelling colloidal systems, it is difficult to characterize such path-dependent effects since the colloidal attraction is often provided by adding another component to the system such as salts or depletants. Therefore, studies of and an understanding of the role of processing on the material properties of attractive colloidal systems are largely lacking. In this work, we systematically studied how processing greatly influences the properties and the microstructures of model attractive colloidal systems. We perform experiments using a thermogelling nanoemulsion as a model system where the isotropic attraction can be precisely tuned via the temperature. The effects of processing conditions on gel formation and properties is tested by performing well-designed sequential temperature jumps. By properly controlling the thermal history, we demonstrate that properties of colloidal gels can be beyond the limit set by direct quenching, which has been a major focus in literature, and that otherwise slow aging of the system associated with a decrease in elasticity can be prevented. Our results provide new experimental evidence of path-dependent rheology and associated microstructures in attractive colloidal systems and provide guidance to future applications in manufacturing complex colloid-based materials.

Graphical abstract: Thermal processing of thermogelling nanoemulsions as a route to tune material properties

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Publication details

The article was received on 19 Apr 2018, accepted on 12 Jun 2018 and first published on 20 Jun 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8SM00814K
Citation: Soft Matter, 2018,14, 5604-5614
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
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    Thermal processing of thermogelling nanoemulsions as a route to tune material properties

    L. Cheng, P. D. Godfrin, J. W. Swan and P. S. Doyle, Soft Matter, 2018, 14, 5604
    DOI: 10.1039/C8SM00814K

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