In order to gain good control over a particulate dispersion it is necessary to accurately characterise the strength of interparticle forces that may be operating. Such control is not routinely used, as yet, in the nuclear industry despite the possible benefits. We are investigating the impact of mixed electrolyte systems, for example NaCl and Na2SO4, on the stability of oxide simulant particle dispersions. The electroacoustic zeta potentials and shear yield stresses for concentrated dispersions have been measured across a range of pH conditions and electrolyte concentrations (0.001 M – 1.0 M). This paper summarizes initial data from these studies showing how the shear yield stress of concentrated aqueous oxide particle dispersions, can be adjusted through regulation of pH and the addition of background electrolytes (salt). The yield stress as a function of pH for these dispersions in mixed electrolytes showed a direct correlation with corresponding measurements of the zeta potential. Changes in the background electrolyte concentration or type were seen to cause a shift in the position of the isoelectric point (iep). Measurements of the shear yield stress showed a maximum at the iep corresponding to the position of maximum instability in the suspension. The consequences of these data for the efficient treatment of solid-liquid systems will be discussed.

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