Exhibitive Nano-to-Micron Scale Sedimentation Dynamics of Colloidal Formulations Through Direct Visualization

2020-05-11T12:23:12Z (GMT) by Shalmali Bapat Doris Segets
The study of sedimentation behavior of nanoparticle dispersions is important for revealing particle size and colloidal stability characteristics. Quantitative appraisal of real-world colloidal systems in their native state, is key for replacing prevailing empiricism in formulation science by knowledge-based design. Herein, we choose fuel cell inks as one case-example amongst many other possibilities to present a new visualization technique, called Transmittogram. This technique readily depicts the time-resolved settling behavior of solid-liquid dispersions, measured by analytical centrifugation (AC). Although AC enables the causal examination of agglomeration, settling, and creaming behavior of dispersions, along with its consequent effect on structure formation and product properties, the understanding of the main transmission readout is often non-intuitive and complex. Transmittograms are, therefore, the missing link for straightforward data interpretation. First, we illustrate the utility of transmittogram analysis using model silica nanoparticle systems and further validate it against known characteristics of the system. Then, we demonstrate the application of transmittograms to characterize fuel cell inks, showing the strength of the approach in deconvoluting and distilling information to the reader. Finally, we discuss the potential of the technique for routine analysis using analytical centrifugation.