Electrical Properties

Electrical Properties

(i) Electrophoresis

(a) The phenomenon of movement of colloidal particles under an applied electric field is called electrophoresis.

(b) If the particles accumulate near the negative electrode, the charge on the particles is positive.

(c) On the other hand, if the sol particles accumulate near the positive electrode, the charge on the particles is negative.

(d) The apparatus consists of a U-tube with two Pt-electrodes in each limb.

(e) When electrophoresis of a sol is carried out with out stirring, the bottom layer gradually becomes more concentrated while the top layer which contain pure and concentrated colloidal solution may be decanted. This is called electro decanation and is used for the purification as well as for concentrating the sol.

(f) The reverse of electrophoresis is called Sedimentation potential or Dorn effect. The sedimentation potential is setup when a particle is forced to move in a resting liquid. This phenomenon was discovered by Dornand is also called Dorn effect.

(ii) Electrical double layer theory

(a) The electrical properties of colloids can also be explained by electrical double layer theory. According to this theory a double layer of ions appear at the surface of solid.

(b) The ion preferentially adsorbed is held in fixed part and imparts charge to colloidal particles.

(c) The second part consists of a diffuse mobile layer of ions. This second layer consists of both the type of charges. The net charge on the second layer is exactly equal to that on the fixed part.

(d) The existence of opposite sign on fixed and diffuse parts of double layer leads to appearance of a difference of potential, known as zeta potential or electrokinetic potential. Now when electric field is employed the particles move (electrophoresis)

(iii) Electro-osmosis

(a) In it the movement of the dispersed particles are prevented from moving by semipermeable membrane.

(b) Electro-osmosis is a phenomenon in which dispersion medium is allowed to move under the influence of an electrical field, whereas colloidal particles are not allowed to move.

(c) The existence of electro-osmosis has suggested that when liquid forced through a porous material or a capillary tube, a potential difference is setup between the two sides called as streaming potential. So the reverse of electro-osmosis is called streaming potential.


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