Surface pressure of liquid interfaces laden with micron-sized particles†
We consider the surface pressure of a colloid–laden liquid interface. As micron-sized particles of suitable wettability can be irreversibly bound to the liquid interface on experimental timescales, we use the canonical ensemble to derive an expression for the surface pressure of a colloid–laden interface. We use this expression to show that adsorption of particles with only hard-core interactions has a negligible effect on surface pressures from typical Langmuir-trough measurements. Moreover, we show that Langmuir-trough measurements cannot be used to extract typical interparticle potentials. Finally, in the case of relatively weakly interacting sterically stabilized particles at a liquid interface, we argue that the dependence of measured surface pressure on surface fraction can be explained by particle coordination number at low to intermediate particle surface fractions. At high surface fractions, where the particles are jammed and cannot easily rearrange, we argue that contact-line sliding and/or deformations of the liquid interface at the length scale of the particles might play a pivotal role.