Anti-clumping strategy for nanoparticles (Vol. 47 No. 1)

Schematic representation for a functionalized nanoparticle (NP) in brine

Scientists identify the factors involved in preventing nanoparticles used in industrial applications from aggregating.

Nanoparticles are ubiquitous in industrial applications ranging from drug delivery and biomedical diagnostics to developing hydrophobic surfaces, lubricant additives and enhanced oil recovery solutions in petroleum fields. For such nanoparticles to be effective, they need to remain well dispersed into the fluid surrounding them. In a study published recently, the authors identified the conditions that lead to instability of nanoparticles and producing aggregates. This happens when the electric force on their surface no longer balances by the sum of the attractive or repulsive forces between nanoparticles.

L. S. de Lara, V. A. Rigo and C. R. Miranda, The stability and interfacial properties of functionalized silica nanoparticles dispersed in brine studied by molecular dynamics, Eur. Phys. J. B 88, 261 (2015)