Applied Surface and Colloid Science



Aris DocoslisDupuis 208aris.docoslis@queensu.ca613-533-6949



Course Description

The course covers four major topics. 1. The thermodynamic properties of interfaces (surface energy, wetting, surface area and porosity, capillary effects, work of adhesion/cohesion). 2. Models of adsorption/desorption phenomena. 3. The amphiphilic behaviour of surfactants. 4. The stability and characterization of colloidal systems. Student appreciation for the importance of these phenomena is cultivated using examples drawn from industrial processes/products including inks, paints, foods, polymer blends, and nanocomposites. (0/12/0/30/0)

PREREQUISITES: CHEE 210 or permission of the department.


Objectives and Outcomes

The course introduces the student to the theory of Colloids and Surface Phenomena. Emphasis is placed on solution Thermodynamics, stability of colloids, adsorption from solution, light scattering, capillary effects and other phenomena of interest to the Engineer. The most common experimental techniques for measuring surface and interfacial tension will be covered in detail, along with classic and modern theoretical models used for the calculation of colloidal forces. Student appreciation for the importance of colloidal phenomena to Science and Technology is cultivated throughout the course with examples drawn from colloidal systems of significant commercial and technological importance, such as inks, paints, foods, polymer blends, and nanocomposites.

Specific course learning outcomes (CLOs) are:

  1. Explain the origin of “long-range’, non-covalent colloidal forces (van der Waals, electrostatic, etc.)and preparation of quantitative DLVO and XDLVO plots for a number of colloidal systems usingthe proper mathematical models
  2. Explain the link between liquid surface tension and contact angle, and demonstrate how certainexperimental techniques can be used for the assessment of liquid surface tension (or,equivalently, surface energy of solids)
  3. Apply knowledge on thermodynamics of micellization in surfactant solutions describe theinfluence of physical variables such as temperature, molecular structure of surfactant, and solvent See website for current personnel information characteristics on parameters such as critical micellization concentration (CMC), association number, micelle structure, etc.
  4. Describe the thermodynamics of emulsion formation and calculate the kinetic and thermodynamic stability of such emulsions
  5. Calculate adsorbate concentration and area per molecule on a solid surface using various adsorption models.
  6. Design colloidal systems or engineered surfaces of high industrial or technological interest (liquid detergents, nanocomposites, eco-paints, superhydrophobic materials, etc.)
  7. Explain the interactions between colloids and visible light, as well as the principles of static and dynamic light scattering

This course assesses the following attributes:

Knowledge base for engineering (CLO 1-5,7)

  • CHEE-KB-CHEM-5. Applies fundamental principles of colloid, surface, and materials science in the analysis and assessment of colloidal and surface interactions, and in the study of material properties.
  • CHEE-KB-THE-4. Uses empirical correlations and experimental data to evaluate thermodynamic quantities, such as the Gibbs energies of interaction in colloidal systems

Design (CLO 6)

  • CHEE-DE-3. Develops equipment, process or product design incorporating performance requirements and constraints such as quality, yield, reliability, economics, safety, and standards and codes as appropriate.

Relevance to the Program

Colloid science is concerned with particles of dimensions in the range 10-9-10-6 m (1nm-1 μm), which range from macromolecules (e.g., proteins, synthetic polymers) to finely subdivided multiphase systems (e.g., milk, aerosol). The interfacial area between colloidal particles and the surrounding medium is very large (e.g., 106 cm2 per 1 cm3 of volume) and thus surface phenomena are prominent. Colloid and surface phenomena are important in biology (cell membranes, fat digestion), pharmaceuticals (drug formulation and delivery), consumer products (foods, detergents, cosmetics), materials (ceramics, polymers, paints, coatings, adhesives), imaging technology (inks, LCDs), geology and mining (ore flotation, enhanced oil recovery, clay stability), environment (smog, wastewater treatment) chemical manufacturing (catalysis), etc. The course assumes knowledge of 2nd year CHEE210 Thermodynamic Properties of Fluids and 3rd year CHEE 311 Fluid Phase and Reaction Equilibria.

Course Structure and Activities

3 lecture hours + 1 tutorial hour per week. Please refer to SOLUS for times and locations


Required textbook: P.C. Hiemenz & R. Rajagopalan, Principles of Colloid and Surface Chemistry 3rd Edition, Marcel Dekker Inc.
All course lecture slides, assignments and tutorials will be posted on the CHEE 460 LMS site.