Issue 36, 2020

Colloidal assembly of polydisperse particle blends during drying


In this work, we synthesize a polydisperse aqueous colloidal system composed of small and large zwitterionic particles, as well as medium sized standard acrylic particles. By assembling these dispersions into films by drying, we show using atomic force microscopy (AFM) how their top surfaces can be mostly covered by zwitterionic groups for a wide range of evaporation rates. We probe underneath the top film surface using Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy – attenuated total reflection (ATR), observing that the content in zwitterionic particles of the film upper layer increases for faster evaporation rates. We show how polydisperse systems hold great potential to overcome the evaporation rate dependence of size segregation processes in drying colloidal blends, and we provide further insights into the assembly mechanisms involved. Polydisperse blends enhance the robustness of such processes for application in coatings and other soft products where evaporation rate can not be tuned.

Graphical abstract: Colloidal assembly of polydisperse particle blends during drying

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
30 Apr 2020
11 Aug 2020
First published
17 Aug 2020
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Soft Matter, 2020,16, 8453-8461

Colloidal assembly of polydisperse particle blends during drying

Y. Dong, N. Busatto, P. J. Roth and I. Martin-Fabiani, Soft Matter, 2020, 16, 8453 DOI: 10.1039/D0SM00785D

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. You can use material from this article in other publications without requesting further permissions from the RSC, provided that the correct acknowledgement is given.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.

Social activity