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16 July 2020
  » arxiv » cond-mat/0410374

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Effects of colloid polydispersity on the phase behaviour of colloid-polymer mixtures
M. Fasolo ; P. Sollich ;
Date 14 Oct 2004
Subject Soft Condensed Matter; Statistical Mechanics | cond-mat.soft cond-mat.stat-mech
AbstractWe study theoretically the equilibrium phase behaviour of a mixture of polydisperse hard-sphere colloids and monodisperse polymers, modelled using the Asakura-Oosawa model within the free volume approximation of Lekkerkerker et al. We compute full phase diagrams in the plane of colloid and polymer volume fractions, using the moment free energy method. The intricate features of phase separation in pure polydisperse colloids combine with the appearance of polymer-induced gas-liquid coexistence to give a rich variety of phase diagram topologies as the polymer-colloid size ratio and the colloid polydispersity are varied. Quantitatively, we find that polydispersity disfavours fluid-solid against gas-liquid separation, causing a substantial lowering of the threshold value above which stable two-phase gas-liquid coexistence appears. Phase splits involving two or more solids can occur already at low colloid concentration, where they may be kinetically accessible. We also analyse the strength of colloidal size fractionation. When a solid phase separates from a fluid, its polydispersity is reduced most strongly if the phase separation takes place at low colloid concentration and high polymer concentration, in agreement with experimental observations. For fractionation in gas-liquid coexistence we likewise find good agreement with experiment, as well as with perturbative theories for near-monodisperse systems.
Source arXiv, cond-mat/0410374
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