Modelling of aggregation kinetics of colloidal systems and its validation by light scattering measurements

Lattuada, M and Wu, H and Sandkuhler, P and Sefcik, J and Morbidelli, M (2004) Modelling of aggregation kinetics of colloidal systems and its validation by light scattering measurements. Chemical Engineering Science, 59 (8-9). pp. 1783-1798. ISSN 0009-2509

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Abstract

Complex behavior of aggregating colloidal systems far from equilibrium is due to the interplay between the particle-particle interactions, the cluster population, the fractal structure of clusters and the resulting aggregation mechanism and kinetics. In this work, a modelling approach has been proposed to simulate the aggregation kinetics of colloidal systems under quiescent conditions, based on the combinations of the cluster mass distribution (CMD) computed using a mathematical model based on population balance equations (PBE) with the structure properties of individual clusters determined by Monte-Carlo (MC) simulations. The effects of the particle-particle interactions, the mobility of the fractal clusters and the fractal dimension on the aggregation rate, have been considered in the aggregation kernel used in the PBE model. It is found that in both the diffusion-limited and reaction-limited aggregation regimes, the average sizes and structure properties predicted using the proposed model are in good agreement with those determined experimentally by light scattering measurements. The results indicate that the proposed PBE modelling approach has a good chance to predict correctly the CMD of the aggregating system, and the structure properties computed from the MC simulations can well represent those of real clusters. This approach has also been extended to analyze the gelation behavior of colloidal systems at relatively large particle volume fractions.