Royal Society Publishing

Dynamics of weakly aggregated colloidal particles

Maria L. Kilfoil , Eugene E. Pashkovski , James A. Masters , D. A. Weitz


We discuss the behaviour of the dynamics of colloidal particles with a weak attractive interparticle interaction that is induced through the addition of polymer to the solvent. We briefly review the description of their behaviour in terms of the jamming phase diagram, which parametrized the fluid–to–solid transition due to changes in volume fraction, attractive energy or applied stress. We focus on a discussion of ageing of the solid gels formed by these colloid–polymer mixtures. They exhibit a delayed collapse induced by gravity. The time evolution of the height of the sediment exhibits an unexpected scaling behaviour, suggesting a universal nature to this delayed collapse. We complement these measurements of the scaling of the collapse with microscopic investigations of the evolution of the structure of the network using confocal microscopy. These results provide new insight into the origin of this ageing behaviour.