Phase and steady shear behavior of dilute carbon black suspensions and carbon black stabilized emulsions

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We use para-amino benzoic acid terminated carbon black (CB) as a model particulate material to study the effect of salt-modulated attractive interactions on phase behavior and steady shear stresses in suspensions and particle-stabilized emulsions. Surprisingly, the suspension displayed a yield stress at a CB volume fraction of φCB = 0.008. The yield stress scaled with CB concentration with power law behavior; the power law exponent changed abruptly at a critical CB concentration, suggesting a substantial change in network structure. Cryogenic scanning electron microscopy revealed structural differences between the networks found in each scaling regime. Randomly oriented pores with thick CB boundaries were observed in the scaling region above the critical particle concentration, suggesting a strong gel network, and long, oriented pores were found in the scaling region below the critical particle concentration, suggesting a weak network influenced by an induced shear stress. These findings correlate with the existence of gels and transient networks. Transient networks break down under gravitational forces over time periods of 12-24 hours. The yield stresses of CB-gels containing oil emulsion droplets were found to scale with carbon black concentration similar to the CB-gels without oil. These results offer insight into salt-induced attractive colloidal networks and the difference in structure and yield-stress behavior between transient networks and gels. Furthermore, CB offers the ability to stabilize an oil phase in discrete droplets and contain them within a rigid network structure.

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