Advances in Colloid and Interface Science (v.120, #1-3)

The systems producing non-linear spontaneous oscillations of the interfacial tension and electric potential are considered and the available criteria for development of convective instability by the surfactant transfer through a liquid interface are discussed. The non-linear oscillations are observed by the surfactant transfer from a point-like source situated in the bulk of liquid, by the transfer of two ionic solutes through a liquid interface in two opposite directions, and by the transfer of ionic solutes through a liquid membrane. All these systems are governed by more complicated mechanisms than merely arising oscillatory convective instability. The main experimental results obtained for these three systems as well as theoretical models proposed for their explanation are discussed.
Keywords: Non-equilibrium systems; Liquid interfaces; Non-linear oscillations; Marangoni instability;

The review points out typical differences and analogies of the bulk characteristics of aluminum ion complexed polyelectrolytes and of their adsorption behaviors when such systems were supplied to inorganic colloids such as oxides and clays. It reports some particular investigations that were carried out in aqueous media to determine (i) the nature of the interactions existing between clay or oxides, aluminum ions and polyelectrolytes and (ii) the effects on the interfacial characteristics and the colloid stability related to the relative concentrations of these different constituents. The investigations concerned the synthetic alumina/polyacrylic acid systems and the natural kaolinite/humic acid systems, as well as partly the mixed alumina/humic acid systems. Different adsorption features and destabilization kinetics were determined to develop within these systems. One of the main constraints of the investigation arose from the presence of three interacting components which developed amphoteric and amphipatic interactions, the latter being generated by the hydrophobic moieties induced by the aluminum ions/carboxylic acid groups ion-pairing. The investigations concerned the extent and the rate of transfer of hydrogen, aluminum ions and polyelectrolytes from the bulk solution to the solid surface. Electrical surface charge characteristics were expressed in terms of the ζ potential of the colloid/polymer complexes. The colloid stability of the systems was determined as a function of time at short and long terms. The variation as a function of time of the number and weight average masses was correlated with the variation with time of the ζ potential. All these systems were determined to reach the kinetic and thermodynamic equilibrium only slowly. Despite the fact that the supply of mixed coagulants provoked the initial aggregation and the subsequent fragmentation processes for both systems, the mechanisms responsible for the two processes were found to be different as revealed by comparatively investigating the synthetic and the natural systems. The fragmentation originated from the slow segregation process of positively and negatively charged groups for the natural kaolinite/humic acid systems, while the segregation process affected hydrophobic and hydrophilic moieties for the synthetic alumina/polyacrylic acid systems.
Keywords: Polyelectrolyte; Polyampholyte; Polyacrylic acid; Humic acid; Alum/polyelectrolyte coagulation aids; Alumina flocculation; Kaolinite flocculation; Aggregation/fragmentation processes;

Characterization of zero-valent iron nanoparticles by Yuan-Pang Sun; Xiao-qin Li; Jiasheng Cao; Wei-xian Zhang; H. Paul Wang (47-56).
The iron nanoparticle technology has received considerable attention for its potential applications in groundwater treatment and site remediation. Recent studies have demonstrated the efficacy of zero-valent iron nanoparticles for the transformation of halogenated organic contaminants and heavy metals. In this work, we present a systematic characterization of the iron nanoparticles prepared with the method of ferric iron reduction by sodium borohydride. Particle size, size distribution and surface composition were characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), high-resolution X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (HR-XPS), X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) and acoustic/electroacoustic spectrometry. BET surface area, zeta (ζ) potential, iso-electric point (IEP), solution Eh and pH were also measured. Methods and results presented may foster better understanding, facilitate information exchange, and contribute to further research and development of iron nanoparticles for environmental and other applications.
Keywords: Zero-valent iron; Nanoparticles; Transmission electron microscopy; X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy; Surface charge;

Nanomechanical measurements with AFM in the elastic limit by John R. Withers; D. Eric Aston (57-67).
With increasing interest in nanoscience and nanotechnology, the fundamental underpinnings of what makes materials strong and durable are under critical investigation. Recent findings suggest that when materials are reduced in extent to nanoscopic proportions, they exhibit enhanced strength, specifically in the form of higher moduli than are measured on macroscopic objects of the same composition. Force-deformation behavior of nanostructures subjected to concentrated loads, such as with atomic force microscopy (AFM), can yield detailed information and insight about their local mechanical properties. We review and evaluate the effectiveness of deformation and indentation tests used in determining the elastic modulus of nanobeams, nanosprings, thin films, biological samples, dendrimers, and fluid droplets. Obstacles yet remain in the determination of absolute, quantitative modulus data at the nanoscale. In spite of basic limitations, recent developments in advanced nanomechanical techniques will facilitate improvement in our understanding of material strength and aging from molecules and colloids to the macroscale.
Keywords: Atomic force microscopy; Nanomechanics; Elastic modulus; Nanoindentation; Three-point bend test;