Faculté des sciences

Brownian dynamics of colloidal microspheres with tunable elastic properties from soft to hard

Yoon, Jiwon ; Cardinaux, Frédéric ; Lapointe, Clayton ; Zhang, Chi ; Mason, Thomas G. ; Ahn, Kyung Hyun ; Scheffold, Frank

In: Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 2018, vol. 546, p. 360–365

We study the Brownian thermal motion of a colloidal model system made by emulsifying hot liquid α-eicosene wax into an aqueous surfactant solution of sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS). When this waxy oil-in-water emulsion is cooled below α- eicosene's melting point of Tc ≃ 25 °C, the microscale emulsion droplets solidify, effectively yielding a dispersed particulate system. So, the... More

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    Summary
    We study the Brownian thermal motion of a colloidal model system made by emulsifying hot liquid α-eicosene wax into an aqueous surfactant solution of sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS). When this waxy oil-in-water emulsion is cooled below α- eicosene's melting point of Tc ≃ 25 °C, the microscale emulsion droplets solidify, effectively yielding a dispersed particulate system. So, the interiors of these wax droplets can be tuned from a viscous liquid to an elastic solid through very modest changes in absolute temperature. Using the multiple light scattering technique of diffusing wave spectroscopy (DWS), which is very sensitive to small-scale motion and shape fluctuations of dispersed colloidal objects, we show that the thermal fluctuations of the interfaces of these liquid droplets at higher temperature, seen in the DWS intensity–intensity correlation function at early times, effectively disappear when these droplets solidify at lower temperature. Thus, we show that the early-time behavior of this DWS correlation function can be used to probe mechanical properties of viscoelastic soft materials dispersed as droplets.