Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids

Charging of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) colloids in cyclohexyl bromide: locking, size dependence, and particle mixtures.

PMID 25535669


We studied suspensions of sterically stabilized poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) particles in the solvent cyclohexyl bromide (CHB; εr = 7.92). We performed microelectrophoresis measurements on suspensions containing a single particle species and on binary mixtures, using confocal microscopy to measure the velocity profiles of the particles. We measured the charge of so-called locked PMMA particles, for which the steric stabilizer, a comb-graft stabilizer of poly(12-hydroxystearic acid) (PHSA) grafted on a backbone of PMMA, was covalently bonded to the particle, and for unlocked particles, for which the stabilizer was adsorbed to the surface of the particle. We observed that locked particles had a significantly higher charge than unlocked particles. We found that the charge increase upon locking was due to chemical coupling of 2-(dimethylamino)ethanol to the PMMA particles, which was used as a catalyst for the locking reaction. For particles of different size we obtained the surface potential and charge from the electrophoretic mobility of the particles. For locked particles we found that the relatively high surface potential (∼ +5.1 kBT/e or +130 mV) was roughly constant for all particle diameters we investigated (1.2 μm < σ < 4.4 μm), and that the particle charge was proportional to the square of the diameter.