Non-monotonic phase behaviour of a mixture containing non-adsorbing particles and polymerising rod-like molecules

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Hypothesis: Previous works have shown that many-body interactions induced by dispersants with increasing correlation length will generate a diminishing two-phase region [Soft Matter 14, 6921 (2018)]. We conjecture that the attenuation of the depletion attraction due to many-body interactions is a ubiquitous phenomenon in medium-induced interactions. We propose mixtures of colloidal particles and rod-like polymers as a feasible experimental system for verifying these predictions, since the intra-molecular correlations are not screened in a good solvent for rod-like polymers as they are in flexible polymers. The length of the rods can grow and become the dominant length scale that determines the range of the depletion interactions for the imbedded non-adsorbing particles. Simulations: We study many-body depletion forces induced by polymerizing rod-like polymers on spherical non-adsorbing colloids, using Metropolis Monte Carlo simulations. We also employ a simple mean-field theory to further justify our numerical predictions. Findings: We demonstrate that the phase diagram displays the same qualitative features that have previously been predicted by many-body theory, for mixtures containing flexible polymers under theta solvent conditions. The contraction of the particle two-phase region that we observe, as the correlation length increases beyond some specific value, could be a signature of the weakening of the depletion caused by many-body effects.


External organisations
  • University of New South Wales
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Chemistry


  • Depletion interaction, Many-body effects, Particle-rod mixture
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-35
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 15
Publication categoryResearch

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