Isotropic-nematic phase transition in aqueous sepiolite suspensions

Phillip Woolston*, Jeroen S. van Duijneveldt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Aqueous suspensions of sepiolite clay rods in water tend to form gels on increase of concentration. Here it is shown how addition of a small amount (0.1% of the clay mass) of a common stabiliser for clay suspensions, sodium polyacrylate, can allow the observation of an isotropic-nematic liquid crystal phase transition. This transition was found to move to higher clay concentrations upon adding NaCl, with samples containing 10-3M salt or above only displaying a gel phase. Even samples that initially formed liquid crystals had a tendency to form gels after several weeks, possibly due to Mg2+ ions leaching from the clay mineral.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-70
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Aqueous
  • Clay
  • Nematic
  • Polyacrylate
  • Rodlike colloids
  • Sepiolite


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