Development of Nanoelectrophoresis Cell for Studying the Surface Properties of Minerals in Hydrothermal Environments

Project: Research project

Project Details


The main goal of this initiative is to develop a reliable instrument for determining the zeta potential of nanoparticles under hydrothermal conditions up to 350oC. The proposed design is based on the flow-through principle applied to capillary electrophoresis, which, unlike autoclave technique, excludes prolonged contact of experimental solution with cell materials. Also the design will employ disposable components, which will facilitate replacement of degraded materials in order to maintain system efficiency and precision. In the proposed high-temperature nanoelectrophoresis cell, the particles will be observed through the pressure-tight sapphire windows using darkfield optical microscopy. The electrophoretic particle velocity will be measured using serial image analysis or the Laser Doppler technique. Another exceptional novelty of the proposed system will be the use of the high-temperature flow-through pH-sensing cell for in-situ pH monitoring. The implementation of the proposed instrument would significantly contribute to the techniques for mineral surface analysis. This effort is largely stimulated by the high interest from geoscientists and environmental scientists working in the areas of geochemistry, environmental kinetics, mineral synthesis, thermodynamics of natural hydrothermal systems, molecular modeling in heterophase systems, and engineering of geo-repositories. Development of the high-temperature nanoelectrophoresis instrument will enhance infrastructure for earth science research and education. Benefits to society will results from the further development of measures for environmental protection and remediation, more efficient use of mineral deposits, and possibly discovery of new applications of geo-materials.

Effective start/end date9/1/078/31/12


  • National Science Foundation: $233,900.00


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