Electrokinetics of diffuse soft interfaces. 2. Analysis based on the nonlinear Poisson-Boltzmann equation

J.F.L. Duval

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77 Citations (Scopus)


In a previous study (Langmuir 2004, 20, 10324), the electrokinetic properties of diffuse soft layers were theoretically investigated within the framework of the Debye-H¿ckel approximation valid in the limit of sufficiently low values for the Donnan potential. In the current paper, the electrokinetics is tackled on the basis of the rigorous nonlinearized Poisson-Boltzmann equation, the numerical evaluation of the electroosmotic velocity profile, and the analytically derived hydrodynamic velocity profile. The results are illustrated and discussed for a diffuse soft interface characterized by a linear gradient for the friction coefficient and the density of hydrodynamically immobile ionogenic groups in the transition region separating the bulk soft layer and the bulk electrolyte solution. In particular, it is shown how the strong asymmetry for the potential distribution, as met for high values of the bulk fixed charge density and/or low electrolyte concentrations, is reflected in the electrokinetic features of the diffuse soft layer. The analysis clearly highlights the shortcomings of the discontinuous approximation by Ohshima and others for the modeling of the friction and electrostatic properties of soft layers exhibiting high Donnan potentials. This is in line with reported electrokinetic measurements of various soft particles and permeable gels at low electrolyte concentrations which fail to match predictions based on Ohshima's theory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3247-3258
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • sensitive hydrogel layers
  • gel layers
  • particles
  • temperature


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