Formation of Surfactant-Stabilized Silica Organosols

Organosols comprising silica nanoparticles, stabilized by adsorbed surfactant layers in low dielectric organic solvents were formulated, and their properties studied. A range of different methods for organosol formation starting from aqueous sols were evaluated and compared, in order to determine the most reliable and reproducible approach. To understand the influence of surfactant type and solvent on stability, samples were prepared with a range of surfactants and in different solvents and solvent blends. Structural properties and interparticle interactions were probed using dynamic light scattering (DLS), zeta potentials were determined, and the surfactant layers were investigated with contrast-variation SANS. SANS data suggest that for systems stabilized by ionic surfactants, the nanoparticles are in equilibrium with a population of reverse micelles, but this is apparently not the case for those stabilized by nonionic surfactants. Low zeta potentials show evidence of a small amount of surface charging in these nonaqueous systems, although it is unlikely to have any significant effect on their overall stability.