Hypothesis: The stability of colloidal dispersions in the presence of multivalent ions depends strongly on the electrostatic interactions between the suspended particles. Of particular interest are colloidal particles having dimensions in the nanometric range and with an anisotropic shape due to its high surface area per unit mass, for example clay, which has the key characteristic of a negatively charged surface, surrounded by an oppositely charged rim. Experiments: In this study, we investigate the interactions in nanoplatelet dispersions for the model system of Laponite® clay with addition of mono- and multivalent salt. Molecular dynamics simulations with enhanced umbrella sampling have been utilised in combination with the experimental techniques of zeta-potential measurements, dynamic light scattering, and transmission electron microscopy. Findings: It was observed that tactoid formation and tactoidal dissolution due to overcharging occur upon the addition of trivalent salt. The overcharging effect was captured from calculated potential of mean force and confirmed from the zeta-potential, which changed sign from negative to positive when increasing the stoichiometric charge-ratio between the positive salt ions and the clay. Consequently, the gained information could provide useful physical insight of nanoplatelet interactions in the presence of multivalent ions.
- Teoretisk kemi