Structure and rheology of organoclay suspensions

H. E. King, Scott T. Milner, Min Y. Lin, John P. Singh, T. G. Mason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


We have characterized a montmorillonite-based organoclay dispersed in three different nonaqueous solvents using a combination of x-ray scattering, small-angle neutron scattering (SANS), and ultrasmall angle neutron scattering (USANS), together with rheological measurements. Consistent with these measurements, we present a structural model for the incompletely dispersed clay as consisting of randomly oriented tactoids made of partially overlapping clay sheets, with transverse dimensions of several microns. Intersheet correlation peaks are visible in x-ray scattering, and quantitatively fit by our model structure factor. SANS and USANS together show a power law of about -3 over a wide range of wave numbers below the intersheet correlation peak. Our model relates this power law to a power law distribution of the number of locally overlapping layers in a tactoid. The rheology data show that both storage and loss moduli, as well as yield stress, scale with a power law in volume fraction of about three. Equating the gel onset composition with the overlap of randomly oriented tactoids and taking into account the large transverse dimensions of the tactoids, we predict the gel point to be at or below 0.006 volume fraction organoclay. This is consistent with the rheology data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number021403
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 21 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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