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Polyphosphates can stabilize but also aggregate colloids

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
Pages (from-to)15-19
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number1
DateAccepted/In press - 29 Nov 2019
DatePublished (current) - 29 Nov 2019


Phosphates are well known as dispersants for a variety of colloidal particles. Here however we use rheological measurements to show that high molecular weight polyphosphates (PP) can instead act as a flocculant for Laponite clay platelets. The proposed mechanism is bridging of PP between clay particle edges, leading to highly charged clusters forming a Wigner glass. Dynamic light scattering shows a bimodal cluster size distribution, independent of PP molecular weight, but the highest molecular weight gave the highest viscous and loss moduli for the PP-clay solid. These unique all-inorganic solids may have application in solid-state ionic conducting materials, controlled release fertilizers and biomedical applications.



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