Direct AFM force measurements between air bubbles in aqueous polydisperse sodium poly(styrene sulfonate) solutions: effect of collision speed, polyelectrolyte concentration and molar mass

Christine Browne, Richard Francis Tabor, Franz Grieser, Raymond Riley Dagastine

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Interactions between colliding air bubbles in aqueous solutions of polydisperse sodium poly(styrene sulfonate) (NaPSS) using direct force measurements were studied. The forces measured with deformable interfaces were shown to be more sensitive to the presence of the polyelectrolytes when compared to similar measurements using rigid interfaces. The experimental factors that were examined were NaPSS concentration, bubble collision velocity and polyelectrolyte molar mass. These measurements were then compared with an analytical model based on polyelectrolyte scaling theory in order to explain the effects of concentration and bubble deformation on the interaction between bubbles. Typically structural forces from the presence of monodisperse polyelectrolyte between interacting surfaces may be expected, however, it was found that the polydispersity in molar mass resulted in the structural forces to be smoothed and only a depletion interaction was able to be measured between interacting bubbles. It was found that an increase in number density of NaPSS molecules resulted in an increase in the magnitude of the depletion interaction. Conversely this interaction was overwhelmed by an increase in the fluid flow in the system at higher bubble collision velocities. Polymer molar mass dispersity plays a significant role in the interactions present between the bubbles and has implications that also affect the polyelectrolyte overlap concentration of the solution. Further understanding of these implications can be expected to play a role in the improvement in operations in such fields as water treatment and mineral processing where polyelectrolytes are used extensively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-245
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015

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