Electric-Field-Induced Pattern-Formation in Colloidal Dispersions


Trau, M. ; Sankaran, S. ; Saville, D. A. ; Aksay, I. A. Electric-Field-Induced Pattern-Formation in Colloidal Dispersions . Nature 1995, 374, 437-439.

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THE formation of patterned colloidal structures from dispersions of particles has many potential uses in materials processing(1-3). Structures such as chains of particles that form in the presence of electric or magnetic fields are also central to the behaviour of electrorheological fluids(4-6) and ferrofluids(7). Electrohydrodynamic effects in aqueous suspensions have been described by Rhodes et al.(8). Here we show that such effects can be used to create structures within a non-aqueous colloidal dispersion of dielectric particles, When the conductivity of a particle-rich spherical region (bolus) is higher than that of the surrounding fluid, an electric field deforms the bolus into a prolate ellipsoid. If the conductivities are reversed (by adding salt to the surrounding fluid, for example), a disk-like shape results. In this way, we form colloidal columns, disks and more complex structures. Once formed, these could be frozen in place by solidifying the fluid matrix by gelation or polymerization(9).

Last updated on 07/02/2018