Analytical model for the effect of surface charge nonuniformity on colloidal interactions

Darrell Velegol, Prasanna K. Thwar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


A closed-form analytical model has been developed to estimate the effect of a nonuniform surface charge distribution on the potential of mean force between two plates or two spherical colloidal particles. This model is an extension for randomly charged surfaces of the well-known Hogg-Healy-Fuerstenau model. The surface charge distribution is random, and we characterize this by defining (1) N equal-area regions on the surfaces, (2) an average surface potential (〈ζ〉), and (3) a standard deviation of surface potential (σζ) among the regions. The model predicts that the standard deviation of the potential of mean force (σΦ) at any gap distance is approximately proportional to σζ/√N. The practicality of the model derives from the fact that σζ/√N is experimentally measurable. Charge nonuniformity provides one explanation for why classical colloidal stability theory often fails. In addition, since regions with a low charge density tend to be more hydrophobic, charge nonuniformity might allow strong hydrophobic interactions between particles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7687-7693
Number of pages7
Issue number24
StatePublished - Nov 27 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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