Colloidal suspensions and emulsions are used in all kinds of things, from water purification to making medication. One thing all those suspensions and emulsions have in common is that the surfaces each of the nanoparticles in each of them pick up an electrical charge. Those charges will affect the stability of the solution or emulsion. That means that the charge has to be measured somehow. That's where zeta potential comes in.
When being discussed in various formulas and such, zeta potential is marked with the Greek letter zeta, which is where it got its name. It is actually an electrokinetic potential. Electrokinetic refers to the way that electricity moves through the suspensions and emulsions. Potential energy how much and what type of energy that anything has in relation to its position to anything else. So, the zeta potential refers to how much potential energy that a nanoparticle in a suspension or emulsion has, in relation to other nanoparticles in that same liquid. While the letter zeta is used in reference to the potential when being used in formulas, it is measured in milliamps and volts, as any other electrical charge would be. What makes the zeta potential so important?
One of the biggest reasons that the zeta potential is so important when it comes to colloidal suspensions and emulsions is that the electrical charge that each of the nanoparticles has should repel it from the other nanoparticles in the solution. The larger the potential is, the more repellant the nanoparticles are. That means that they are much less likely to stick together, which could cause the suspension to separate or for large clumps to start to form. That would mean that it would take more work to make sure that the solution stays mixed the way that it should be. In practical terms, one of the places where zeta potential is important is when it comes to making paint. If, when the pigments are placed into the paint base, the zeta potential is too low, the pigments and base will separate, which will cause the paint to go on streaky and clumpy, if it isn't vigorously mixed back up. While there is a point where they will separate at some point, that shouldn't happen for a long while, as long as everything was formulated correctly.
Solutions like suspensions and emulsions get used in all kinds of places. In order to make sure that everything is handled correctly, it's important to understand and use zeta potential. For more information about the particle size zeta potential instrument, reach out to a supplier near you.