Stability Properties of Surfactant-Free Thin Films at Different Ionic Strengths: Measurements and Modeling

F.J. Lech, P.A. Wierenga, H. Gruppen, M.B.J. Meinders*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Foam lamellae are the smallest structural elements in foam. Such lamellae can experimentally be studied by analysis of thin liquid films in glass cells. These thin liquid films usually have to be stabilized against rupture by surface active substances, such as proteins or low molecular weight surfactants. However, horizontal thin liquid films of pure water with a radius of 100 µm also show remarkable stability when created in closed Sheludko cells. To understand thin film stability of surfactant-free films, the drainage behavior and rupture times of films of water and NaCl solutions were determined. The drainage was modeled with an extended Derjaguin–Landau–Verwey–Overbeek (DLVO) model, which combines DLVO and hydrophobic contributions. Good correspondence between experiment and theory is observed, when hydrophobic interactions are included, with fitted values for surface potential (¿0,water) of -60 ± 5 mV, hydrophobic strength (Bhb,water) of 0.22 ± 0.02 mJ/m2, and a range of the hydrophobic interaction (¿hb, water) of 15 ± 1 nm in thin liquid films. In addition, Vrij’s rupture criterion was successfully applied to model the stability regions and rupture times of the films. The films of pure water are stable over long time scales (hours) and drain to a final thickness >40 nm if the concentration of electrolytes is low (resistivity 18.2 MQ). With increasing amounts of ions (NaCl) the thin films drain to
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2777-2782
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • sodium dodecyl-sulfate
  • subsequent criticism
  • hydrophobic forces
  • standing foams
  • liquid-films
  • interface
  • electrolyte
  • coalescence
  • proteins
  • drainage


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