Monday, June 10, 2013

1306.1703 (Ravi Kumar Pujala et al.)

Spontaneous evolution of self-assembled phases from anisotropic
colloidal dispersions

Ravi Kumar Pujala, Nidhi Joshi, H. B. Bohidar
We investigate the spontaneous evolution of various self-assembled phase states from a homogeneous aqueous dispersion of high-aspect ratio Montmorillonite (Na Cloisite) nanoclay platelets grounded on the observations made over a period of 3.5 years. We have established the tw-c phase diagram for this system for the first time in salt-free suspensions under normal pH conditions using rheology experiments and have detected that these suspensions do undergo nontrivial phase evolution and aging dynamics. Distinctive phase separation, equilibrium fluid and equilibrium gels in the tw-c phase space are discovered. Cole-Cole plots derived from rheology measurements suggested the presence of inter connected network-like structures for c > cg, cg being the gelation concentration. All dispersions formed stable sols during the initial time, and with aging network-like structures were found to form via two routes: one for c < cg, by phase separation and another for c > cg, through equilibrium gelation. This has invoked and called for a revisit of the phase diagram of aging MMT dispersions.
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