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The zeta potential of kaolin suspensions measured by electrophoresis and electroacoustics

R. Greenwood, B. Lapčíková, M. Surýnek, K. Waters, and L. Lapčík

Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Brimingham, B15 2TT, UK



Received: 29 March 2006  Revised: 26 September 2006  Accepted: 8 October 2006

Abstract: The zeta potentials of kaolin dilute and concentrated suspensions were monitored using the techniques of electrophoresis and electroacoustics, respectively. The effect of addition of salt (KCl), a polymer material (Triton X-100), and an anionic surfactant (sodium dodecyl sulphate, SDS) on the suspension properties was investigated by electrophoresis. Electroacoustics was employed for the measurement of zeta potentials for the highest possible kaolin content in suspension and the effect of dilution. The effect of aging of a freshly prepared sample and kaolin isoelectric point was also studied. Using both techniques it was noted that there was no isoelectric point, just a maximum value in the magnitude of the kaolin suspension zeta potential. These maxima were observed also in the presence of Triton X-100 and SDS. An increase of the concentration of KCl and SDS in suspension shifted the maxima towards more acidic values, while in the presence of Triton X-100 the position of the zeta potential maxima remained constant. Electroacoustic techniques revealed that a freshly prepared concentrated suspension requires about six hours to equilibrate to achieve a steady zeta potential. Diluting the concentrated suspensions led to decrease of the zeta potential as ions bound to the surface desorbed and screened the surface charge. The zeta potential maxima remained unchanged even after heating the powder in an oven at 200°C (to remove any organic material) thereby suggesting that the most likely explanation for the maxima is isomorphic substitution.

Keywords: kaolinite - kaolin - concentrated aqueous suspensions - electrophoresis - electroacoustics - zeta potential - isomorphic substitution

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-007-0003-x


Chemical Papers 61 (2) 83–92 (2007)

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