Research objectives and content
Colloidal suspensions are complex fluids, that consist of mesoscopic particles suspended in a solvent. Direct simulation is impossible as different length and time scales are involved. The present understanding is based on simplified models in which the mesoscopic particles interact with effective potential. However, it turns out that the phase behaviour of these models depends strongly on the details of the effective potential, and that a variety of phenomena is still unresolved. A better understanding of the effective potentials is essential. In this proposal, we will construct theories based on density functional theory (DFT) and on analogies with confined fluids for the effective potentials between the mesoscopic particles. The phase behaviour will then be determined by performing computer simulations in this effective two-body description. However, it is known that this approach of effective potentials fails at high concentrations and high surface charges. For these cases, a new simulation tool will be developed.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
This project should lead to the resolution of one or more open questions in colloid science and should shed new light on experimental observations. The applicant will gain fresh and detailed knowledge of the statistical mechanics of confined fluids and the framework of DFT. Also a broader overview and a deeper insight in the field of complex fluids will be gained by working on current problems in the field of sterically and charged stabilised colloids.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)