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The Influence of pH on Zeta Potential

The most important factor that affects zeta potential is pH

A zeta potential value quoted without a definition of it's environment (pH, ionic strength,
concentration of any additives) is a meaningless number

Imagine a particle in suspension with a negative zeta potential

If more alkali is added to this suspension then the particles tend to acquire more negative charge

If acid is added to this suspension then a point will be reached where the charge will be

Further addition of acid will cause a build up of positive charge

In general, a zeta potential versus pH curve will be positive at low pH and lower or negative at
high pH

There may be a point where the curve passes through zero zeta potential

This point is called the isoelectric point and is very important from a practical consideration

It is normally the point where the colloidal system is least stable

In the above example it can be seen that if the dispersion pH is below 4 or above 8 there is sufficient
charge to confer stability. However if the pH of the system is between 4 and 8 the dispersion may be
unstable. This is most likely to be the case at around pH 6 (the isoelectric point)

Definition of Terms

The definitions found here pertain to the field of science involved with solution and colloid chemist
Similar terms from other fields of science, such as nuclear science, are not applicable to solutions

A -B -C -D -E -F -G -H -I -J-K-L-M -N -O -P -Q-R -S -T -U -V -W-X-Y-

absorption - A process "to take in and incorporate." In chemistry, a term often used to describe
dissolution of a gas into a liquid or solid. The dissolving gas is said to be "absorbed." Or a liquid
substance can be "absorbed" by a solid. This is a bulk process, not to be confused with adsorptio

acid - A compound that dissociates to produce hydrogen (H+) cations when dissolved in water.
alsopH. Acids in water solutions exhibit the following common properties: they taste sour; turn lit
paper red; and react with certain metals, such as zinc, to yield hydrogen gas. Acids can be classif
organic or inorganic. Some of the more common organic acids are: citric acid, carbonic acid, hydr
cyanide, salicylic acid, lactic acid, and tartaric acid. Some of the common inorganic acids are: hyd
sulfide, phosphoric acid, hydrogen chloride, and sulfuric acid.

activity - The activity of a dissolved species in solution is the "effective" concentration of that s

In an "ideal" solution, the molecules in the solution do not interact with each other and
the concentrationand the activity are identical. This is the case for very dilute solutions. In a "re
solution, there is a certain interaction between the molecules resulting in a diminished "activity" o
molecules toward the outside world, and the solution behaves like it would contain lower concentr
of the dissolved species than it actually does. The activity can be expressed as the product of an "
coefficient" and the concentration. A plot of activity coefficient as a function of concentration for s
ions is shown here .
activity coefficient - See activity above.

adsorption - 1) The formation of a layer of gas, liquid, or solid on the surface of a solid or, less
frequently, of a liquid. There are two types depending on the nature of the forces involved.
In chemisorption a single layer of molecules, atoms, or ions is attached to the adsorbent surface b
chemical bonds. In physisorptionadsorbed molecules are held by the weaker van der Waals' forces

2) An increase of the concentration of a solute in the vicinity of a solid surface, over that in the
the solution, due to the attractive interaction between the solid immersed into the solution and
the solute . Adsorption on a solid from a gaseous phase also occurs. It is a surface process, not t
confused withabsorption .

aggregation - Massing of materials together as in clumping. A clumped mass of material or sma

particles formed from individual atoms. Individual atoms in close proximity to other like atoms wi
pulled together by van der Waals' force and form particles. At the level of individual atoms ther
counter force to prevent the formation of particles. In this regard the behavior of individual atoms
from ions. In the case of ions, the ionic charge creates a mutual repulsion of the ions thus keep
ions uniformly distributed in the fluid and preventing the formation of particles.
ampere - Measurement unit of current . Abbreviation: "A" or "amp".
analyte - A substance whose chemical composition is to be determined by chemical analysis.
anion A negatively charged ion, i.e. an ion that is attracted to the anode in electrophoresis .

name is derived from anode ion. The negative charge results because there are more electrons t
protons in the anion. Anions can be formed from nonmetals by reduction (see oxidation and
reduction) or from neutral acids (see acids and bases) or polar compounds by ionization.
anode - A positive electrode . In electrophoresis anions are attracted to the anode.
aqueous solution - A solution with water as the solvent .

argyria - A discoloration of the skin wherein the skin turns a blue-grey color as a result of over
exposure to certain forms of silver. Argyria is known to be caused by ingesting; 1) silver salts
(compounds) such as silver nitrate, 2) high concentrations of ionic silver, 3) protein based silver p
aka "silver protein" or"mild silver protein". Argyria is not caused by true silver colloids which co
of nanometer sized particles of silver in pure water. More ...

atom - The smallest part of an element that can exist chemically. Atoms consist of small dense n
ofprotons and neutrons surrounded by moving electrons . The number of electrons equals the
number of protons so the overall charge is zero. The electrons are considered to move in circular
elliptical orbits or, more accurately, in regions of space around the nucleus.

atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) - An analytical technique in which a sample is vaporize

causing the atoms to increase their energy state and absorb electromagnetic radiation at charact
wavelengths. Used for trace metal (parts-per-million) and ultra trace metal (parts-per-billion) ana

atomic number - The number of protons in the nucleus of a nuclide; all the atoms of a
chemical elementhave the same atomic number; sometimes indicated by a subscript preceding t
symbol of a chemical element (e.g., 1H). Symbol Z.
atomic weight (also known as the relative atomic mass) - The average atomic mass of
an elementcompared to 1/12 the mass of carbon 12.

base - A compound that dissociates to produce hydroxyl (OH-) anions when dissolved in water
called "caustic" or "alkali"). See also pH. Bases in water solutions exhibit these common propertie
taste bitter; turn litmus paper blue; and feel slippery. Bases can be classified as organic or inorga
Some examples of organic bases are: pyridine and ethylamine. Some common inorganic bases ar
sodium hydroxide, sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, calcium hydroxide, and calcium carbon
Brownian motion - Chaotic motion of minute particle suspended in a gas or liquid. More ...
cathode - A negative electrode . In electrophoresis cations are attracted to the cathode.

cation A positively charged ion, i.e. an ion that is attracted to the cathode in electrophoresis
name is derived from cathode ion. The charge results because there are more protons than elect
the cation due to missing orbital electrons. Cations can be formed from a metal by oxidation
(see oxidation and reduction), from a neutral base (see acids and bases) by protonation, or f
polar compound by ionization. Cationic species include Ag(+), Na(+), Mg(++), and NH(4+). The c

of the transition elements have characteristic colors in water solution. Salts are made up of cat
and anions.

cell voltage - The electrical potential difference between the two electrodes of an electroche
cell . In case of a three-electrode cell, the potential difference between the working electrode and
counter electrode.
centrifugation - A process of separating the lighter portions of a solution , mixture,
or suspension from the heavier portions by centrifugal force.

charge transport - The phenomenon of movement (transportation) of electrical charge from one
the system to another, occurring through electromigration .

chemical bond - mechanism whereby atoms combine to form molecules. There is a chemical b
between two atoms or groups of atoms when the forces acting between them are strong enough t
to the formation of an aggregate with sufficient stability to be regarded as an independent species
number of bonds an atom forms corresponds to its valence. The amount of energy required to br
bond and produce neutral atoms is called the bond energy. All bonds arise from the attraction of u
charges according to Coulomb's law; however, depending on the atoms involved, this force manife
itself in quite different ways. The principal types of chemical bond are the ionic, covalent, metallic
hydrogen bonds. The ionic and covalent bonds are idealized cases, however; most bonds are of an
intermediate type.

coagulation - The process in which colloidal particles come together irreversible to form larger m
Coagulation can be brought about by adding ions that change the ionic strength of the solution
thus destabilize the colloid.

Colloidal Science Laboratory (CSL) - The laboratory facility that performs the research, does t
analysis and prepares the technical reports used on this web site. CSL is equipped with state of th
scientific equipment specifically developed for characterizing colloidal solutions. For more informat
see Laboratory Capabilities.

colloidal silver solution A solution containing pure water and nanometer sized silver parti
a colloidal suspension. Most silver colloids also contain silver ions . Typically, the silver in ionic fo
constitutes 90% or more of the total silver in solution . If the solution contained all ions and no
particles, it would be considered an ionic solution, not a colloid since there would be no particles
suspended in the water. If the solution contained only particles and no ions, it would be considere
pure colloid. The particles remain suspended in the water owing to a particle charge which caus
electrostatic mutual repulsion of the particles. This particle charge is due to adsorption of ions
the surrounding solution and is called zeta potential .

colloid stability - The interaction of particles in polar liquids is not governed by the electrical
potential at the surface of the particle, but by the effective potential of the particle and its
associated ions . To utilize electrostatic control, it is the zeta potential of a particle that must be
measured rather than its surface charge. Overall colloid stability depends on the interaction betwe
individual particles. If mutual repulsionexists between particles in a colloid, the dispersant will

resist flocculation . However, in the long term there may be caking or creaming through
natural sedimentation . Attractive forces present in the dispersant will cause flocculation
or coagulation to occur. Most stability problems may be approached by considering the balance
between the repulsive and attractive forces. In practice there are two ways to achieve this bala
(1) Polymers may be added which adsorb on to the surface of the particles within the colloid cau
repulsion by steric effects . (2) Alternatively, the ionic composition of the colloidal solution can b
adjusted, with the change in distribution of charged species determining the stability of the colloid
methods have benefits depending on the application. Generally, a combination of electrostatic and
effects is responsible for stability. More...

compound - A substance formed by the combination of elements in fixed proportions. The form
a compound involves a chemical reaction; i.e. there is a change in the configuration of the
valence electronsof the atoms . Compounds, unlike mixtures, cannot be separated by physical m
See also molecule .

conductivity cell - A cell specially designed for the measurement of the conductivity of
an electrolytesolution . It is a small vessel containing two metallic electrodes , the cell is filled
the solution to be measured. Also called "conductance cell."

The measurement of the conductivity of an electrolyte solution is more complicated than a similar
measurement with a metallic conductor. When measuring with dc current, one would have to take
consideration the electromotive force of the electrochemical cell , and the polarization of th
electrodes. Therefore, the measurements are typically carried out with high frequency ac current
electrodes in the conductivity cell are typically made of platinized platinum to avoid these complic
The cell geometry usually does not ensure that exactly and only one cubic centimeter of solution w
carry the current; therefore, the cell has to be calibrated to obtain the specific conductance of t
solution. The calibration is usually carried out with high purity potassium chloride solutions, and th
resulting calibration constant is often called the "cell constant."
conductor (electrical) - A material that is capable to carry an electrical current . See
also electronic conductor and ionic conductor .

concentration - The measure of the amount of dissolved material ( solute ) in a solution . It ca

expressed in a variety of ways. Expressions in weight percent, and grams of solute per liter of sol
are common. A more fundamental way to express concentration is used in chemistry:
the molar concentration. A solution is considered one molar (1 M) if it contains as many grams of
per liter of solution as is themolecular weight of the solute (the so called gram-mol ). This pro
an atomistically fundamental expression because one gram-mol of any material will contain the sa
(and very large) number ofmolecules . One gram-mol of hydrogen gas contains the exact same
of molecules as one gram-mol of table salt (sodium chloride), even though the latter is much hea
this dictionary, the term "concentration " always designates molarity unless otherwise specified

coulomb - Measurement unit of the electrical charge. Symbol: "C". The charge passing a given p
during one second when the current is one ampere .

current - The movement of electrical charges in a conductor ; carried by electrons in an electr

conductor and by ions in an ionic conductor . "By definition" the electrical current always flow

the positive potential end of the conductor toward the negative potential end, independent of the
direction of motion of the differently charged current carrier particles. Two kinds of currents must
distinguished: "direct current (dc)" and "alternating current (ac)." Direct current is the unidirectio
continuous flow of current, while alternating current is the oscillating (back and forth) flow of curr
electrochemistry, we almost always use direct current. Consequently, the term "current" always
designates "dc" in this dictionary unless specifically stated to be "ac." The normal household curre
an alternating current.

diffusion - The movement of chemical species (ions or molecules ) under the influence
of concentrationdifference. The species will move from the high concentration area to the low
concentration area till the concentration is uniform in the whole phase. Diffusion in solutions is t
important phenomenon in electrochemistry, but diffusion will occur also in gases and solids.

dipole - A pair of equal and opposite electrical charges separated by a small distance. A dipole wi
itself, if possible, in the presence of other electrical charges according to the attraction of opposite
repulsion of like charges. Externally neutral chemical molecules can have a dipole inside; for exa
water is a triangular molecule with the oxygen at one corner and the two hydrogens at the other t
corners. The internal charge distribution is such that the hydrogen side has a slight excess of posi
charge and the oxygen end is correspondingly negative. A dipole is characterized by its "dipole mo
the product of the charge and the separation distance (coulomb times centimeter).
dispersant - Something that disperses. A chemical substance added to a dispersion capable of
maintaining the dispersed particles in suspension .
dispersion - 1) The act of scattering or separating; the condition of being scattered. 2) the
incorporation of the particles of one substance into the body of another,
comprising solutions , suspensions , and colloid solutions. 3) a colloid solution.

dissociation - The process that may occur when a chemical compound is dissolved in a solvent
water). The molecules of the compound will break up ("dissociate") into two or more ions result
anionically conducting electrolyte solution; for example, the common table salt (sodium chlor
dissociate into a single charged sodium cation and a single charged chloride anion .

electrical conductivity - The measurement of electrical conductivity is generally referred to as j

conductivity. Conductivity is the reciprocal of the resistivity of a material. When a fluid is involved
theelectrolytic conductivity is given by the ratio of current density to the electric field strength. T
conductance of a sample of pure water depends on how the measurement was made. Things that
conductance include how big a sample is being measured, how far apart the electrodes are, etc.
Conductance is defined as the reciprocal of the resistance in ohms, measured between the opposi
faces of a 1 cm cube of liquid at a specific temperature. The unit of conductance is called Siemens
which was formerly named the mho (ohm spelled backward). Because a measurement gives the
conductance, methods have been devised to convert the measured value to the conductivity, so th
results can be compared from different experiments. This requires that a cell constant (K) be dete
for the instrument using a solution of known conductivity. Once the cell constant has been determ
then the conductivity can be calculated as follows:
Conductivity = Cell conductance x K

The cell constant is related to the physical characteristics of the measuring cell. K is defined for
flat, parallel measuring electrodes as the electrode separation distance (d) divided by the electrod
(A). Thus, for a 1 cm cube of liquid, K = d/A, where A=1 cm-1

The unit of conductivity is Siemens/m or in scaled form Siemens/cm. In modern conductivity met
measured cell value is entered into the meter and the conversion from conductance to conductivit
performed automatically. The instrument scales the value and displays the results in micro-Sieme
An approximation of the concentration of ionic silver in solution (ppm) may be determined from

electrical energy - A form of energy . It expresses the ability of an electrical source to carry ou
work or generate heat; for example, this energy can be used to drive an electrical motor and carr
some mechanical work, or to generate heat with an electrical heater. The electrical energy is usua
expressed in units of watt-hour, symbol: "Wh".

electrical potential - The electrical potential difference between two point in a circuit is the caus
the flow of a current . It is somewhat analogous to the difference in height in a waterfall that cau
water to fall, or the difference in pressure in a pipeline that causes the gas to flow. In electrochem
we typically cannot measure "absolute" potentials, only the "difference" of potential between two
For similar concepts, see electromotive force (emf) and voltage . These terms are sometimes
interchangeably. However, in electrochemistry "emf" usually refers to the potential difference betw
the two electrodes of an electrochemical cell when there is no current flowing through the cell,
"voltage" refers to same with current flowing, and "potential" is usually used in connection
with electrodes .

electric double layer - The liquid layer surrounding the particle exists as two parts; an inner reg
(Stern layer) where the ions are strongly bound and an outer (diffuse) region where they are less
associated. More ...

electrochemical cell - A device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy or vice v
when a chemical reaction is occurring in the cell. Typically, it consists of two metal electrodes im
into anaqueous solution (electrolyte ) with electrode reactions occurring at the electrode-solut

electrode - The two electronically conducting parts of an electrochemical cell. See

also anode and cathode. These can be simple metallic structures (rods, sheets, etc.) or much m
complicated, composite structures. E.g., the electrodes in a rechargeable battery will also "contain
chemicals being converted during its operation. The term "electrode " is also used to denote com
assemblies that include an electrode in a small vessel, which contains an electrolyte and is equip
with an ion-permeable separator.Reference electrodes are such assemblies.

electrode potential - The electrical potential difference between an electrode and a referenc
electrode. We cannot measure the "absolute" potential of an electrode; therefore, the electrode p
must always be referred to an "arbitrary zero point," defined by the potential of the reference

electrode . Consequently, it is very important always to

note the type of reference electrode used in the measurement of the electrode potential.

electrolysis - A process that decomposes a chemical compound or produces a new compound by

action of an electrical current . The electrical current is passed through an electrolytic cell and
oxidation/reduction reactions occur at the electrodes ; for example, water can be decomposed in
hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis.

electrolyte - A chemical compound (salt, acid, or base) that dissociates into electrically
charged ionswhen dissolved in a solvent. The resulting electrolyte (or electrolytic) solution is an i
conductor of electricity. Very often, the so formed solution itself is simply called an "electrolyte."

electrolytic cell - An electrochemical cell that converts electrical energy into chemical energy.
chemical reactions do not occur "spontaneously" at the electrodes when they are connected thro
external circuit. The reaction must be forced by applying an external electrical current. It is used
electrical energy in chemical form. It is also used to decompose or produce (synthesize) new chem
by application of electrical power. This process is called electrolysis , for example, water can be
decomposed into hydrogen gas and oxygen gas.

electromigration - The movement of ions under the influence of electrical potential difference

electromotive force (emf) - The cell voltage of a galvanic cell measured when there is
no currentflowing through the cell. In other words, the equilibrium electrode potential differe
between the twoelectrodes of the cell.

electron - An elementary particle with a rest mass of 9.1093897 X 10-31 kg and a negative char
1.60217733 X 10-19 coulomb . Electrons are present in all atoms in groupings called shells around
nucleus; when they are detached from the atom they are called free electrons. The outermost
electrons of an atom determine its chemical and electrical properties. An atom may combine chem
with another atom in various ways, either by giving up or receiving electrons, thus setting up an
electrical attraction between the atoms (see ion ), or by sharing one or more pairs of electrons. B
metals have few outermost electrons and tend to give them up easily, they are good conductors o
electricity or heat.
electronic conductor - A material that conducts electricity with electrons as charge carriers.

electronvolt - Symbol eV. A unit of energy equal to the work done on an electron in moving it t
a potential difference of one volt. It is used as a measure of particle energies although it is not an
unit . 1 eV = 1.602 X 10-19 joule.

electrophoresis A technique for the analysis and separation of colloids, based on the moveme
charged colloidal particles in an electric field. There are various experimental methods. In one the
sample is placed in a U-tube and buffer solution added to each arm, so there are sharp boundarie
between the buffer and the sample. An electrode is placed in each arm, a voltage applied, and th
motion of the boundaries under the influence of the field is observed. The rate of migration of the
particles depends on the field, the charge on the particles, and on other factors such as the size a

shape of the particles.

In modern zeta potential instruments an electrophoresis capillary tube contains the colloid samp
thevoltage is applied to electrodes at each end of the tube. The rate of migration and the direct
movement of the particles are measured by Laser Doppler Velocimetry .

element A substance that cannot be decomposed into simpler substances. In an element, all
the atomshave the same number of protons and electrons , although the number of neutrons
vary. There are 92 naturally occurring elements.

elemental silver - This is a scientific term referring to silver in its natural state as a metallic elem
The atoms must contain all 47 orbital electrons making the atom complete as a metallic element
pure state and having no ionic charge. Silver ions are missing one orbital electron, thus contain
orbital electrons, have a positive ionic charge, are not metallic, and therefore are not considered
elemental silver.

energy - The energy of a system expresses the ability of that system to do some useful work or
generate heat. Energy can be in many forms; for example, mechanical energy, chemical energy, h
energy, electrical energy, etc. The different forms of energy can be converted into each other.

It is a fundamental law of nature that energy can never be converted from one form to another 10
some of the energy is always converted into heat energy during the conversion. Also, heat can ne
converted 100% into any other form of energy.

equilibrium - An electrode or an electrochemical cell is said to be in "equilibrium" when there

net current flowing and there are no net electrode reactions taking place in the system. In equilib
thepotential of the electrodes is the equilibrium potential and the cell voltage is
the electromotive
force .

equilibrium electrode potential - The electrical potential of an electrode measured against

areference electrode when there is no current flowing trough the electrode. In other words,
theelectromotive force of an electrochemical cell consisting of the electrode in question and a
reference electrode. See also equilibrium .

The concept of equilibrium potential is probably easiest to demonstrate with a simple metal/metal
ionelectrode system. When a metal (e.g., silver) is immersed in a solution containing its ion (e
silver nitrate solution) metal ions will cross the metal/solution interface. They will pass from the p
where the "chemical energy" of the ion is large to the phase where the "chemical energy" of the io
smaller. Depending on the system, this can occur in either direction. However only the positively c
(e.g., silver) cations can pass through the interface. The negatively charged electrons cannot pas
the solution, and the anions (e.g., nitrate) cannot pass into the metal. Consequently, charge
accumulation occurs at the interface forming an electrical double layer . Consider an example w
the metal ions move preferentially from the metal into the solution: the metal surface becomes
negatively charged because of the accumulation of the electrons left behind, while the solution lay
near the metal surface becomes positively charged because of the accumulation of silver ions. Thi

process produces a potential difference between the two phases that will slow and eventually stop
passage of the metal ions. At "equilibrium" the chemical driving force and the opposing electrical
are equal. The potential difference between the metal and the solution phases under these condit
the "equilibrium potential difference." This potential difference cannot be measured because there
way to make an electrical connection to the solution phase without setting up another electrode
potential. Consequently, electrode potentials are always measured against a reference
electrode whose potential is known on an arbitrary scale. See standard hydrogen electrode .

flocculation - The process in which particles in a colloid aggregate into larger clumps. Often, th
is used for a reversible aggregation of particles in which the forces holding the particles together a
weak and the colloid can be redispersed by agitation.

fugacity - The expression of "activity" for a component in a mixture of gases. It has the same ph
meaning as the activity for a component in a solution.

gram-mol - An amount of a compound equal in grams to its molecular weight . For example, t
molecular weight of water is 18, so 18 grams of water is called a gram-mol of water. This provides
atomistically fundamental unit because one gram-mol of any material will contain the same (and
large) number of molecules . One gram-mol of hydrogen gas contains the exactly same number
molecules as one gram-mol of table salt (sodium chloride), even though the latter is much heavie

hadron - Any elementary particle that is subject to the strong interaction . Hadrons are subdiv
into baryons and mesons.
heavy metal - What is a heavy metal? It depends on who you ask!

According to Chemistry International Vol 23, No.6 November 2001 - "Heavy Metals" - A Meaningle

Over the past two decades, the term "heavy metals" has been used increasingly in various publica
and in legislation related to chemical hazards and the safe use of chemicals. It is often used as a
name for metals and semimetals (metalloids) that have been associated with contamination and
potential toxicity or ecotoxicity. At the same time, legal regulations often specify a list of heavy m
which they apply. Such lists may differ from one set of regulations to the other, or the term may b
without specifying which heavy metals are covered. In other words, the term "heavy metals" has
used inconsistently. This practice has led to general confusion regarding the significance of the ter
inconsistent use of the term "heavy metals" reflects inconsistency in the scientific literature. It is,
therefore, necessary to review the usage that has developed for the term, paying particular atten
its relationship to fundamental chemistry. Without care for the scientific fundamentals, confused t
is likely to prevent advances in scientific knowledge and to lead to bad legislation and to generally

One of 23 chemical elements that has a

specific gravity (a measure of density) at least five times that of water.
Def 1.) A generalized definition in common use:

Def 2.) Definition according to OSHA -

The term "Heavy Metals" is generally interpreted

include those metals from periodic table groups IIA through VIA. The semi-meta
elements boron, arsenic, selenium, and tellurium are often included in this
classification. At trace levels, many of these elements are necessary to support
However, at elevated levels they become toxic, may build up in biological syste
and become a significant health hazard.

The term heavy metal refers to any metallic chemic

element that has a relatively high density and is toxic, highly toxic or poisonous
low concentrations. Examples of heavy metals include mercury (Hg), cadmium
arsenic (As), chromium (Cr), thallium (Tl), and lead (Pb).
Def 3.) Definition used by many -

Heavy metals are dangerous because they tend to bioaccumulate. For example, marine organisms
consume a particularly dangerous form of mercury called methyl mercury. When fish eat these
organisms, the methyl mercury is not excreted, but retained in bodily tissues. The older the fish a
more contaminated organisms it has consumed, the greater the amount of methyl mercury in its
When another fish eats the first fish, the accumulated methyl mercury is passed up the food chain
eventually becoming hundreds or thousands of times its original concentration. Any organism at t
of the food chain (humans, polar bears etc.) faces a serious risk of mercury poisoning by eating s
More on heavy metals here...

hydrodynamic boundary layer - A thin immobile layer of fluid that always exists at a solid/mov
fluid interface. Whether the movement of the fluid is due to "forced" or "natural" convection, a thi
of fluid will always remain completely immobile at the surface of the solid due to the solid-liquid
interactive forces.
ingestion - The act of taking food, medicines, etc., into the body by mouth.

inhalation - 1) The drawing of air or other substances into the lungs. 2) Any drug or solution of d
administered by the nasal or oral respiratory route for local or systemic effect.
in vitro - Within a glass; observable in a test tube; in an artificial environment.
ion - 1) An atom or radical having a charge of positive (cation ) or negative (anion ) electricity
to the loss (positive) or gain (negative) of one or more electrons. Substances that form ions are
calledelectrolytes . 2) An atomic or molecular particle having a net electric charge.

In the field of nuclear science, any atomic object whose weight is greater or equal to an electron
considered a particle. This definition of an atomic particle is not applicable to the field
of solution or colloidchemistry.
ionic charge A positive or negative electric charge possessed by an ion as a result of the gain
of one or more orbital electrons . Silver ions always possess a positive ionic charge due the loss

single electron. Ionic charge is responsible for the electrostatic repulsion that causes ions to rem
dispersed in a liquid.
ionic conductor - A material that conducts electricity with ions as charge carriers. See
also electrolyte .

ionic gold - A solution consisting of water and gold ions (dissolved gold) usually in the form of A
ions, with chloride being the companion anion.. Contains no gold particles and does not exhibit
a Tyndall Effect. Ionic gold has been reported to be neurotoxic which means it is toxic to nerve
Gold (III) chloride (ionic gold) is potentially harmful to humans if ingested. See the Material Saf
Data Sheet (MSDS) for gold chloride for more information on toxicity.
Ionic gold should not be confused with colloidal gold which consists of metallic gold particles and
harmful to humans.

ionic mobility - A quantitative measure of an ion's ability to move under the influence of a poten
difference in solution. (See also electromigration .) It is the speed of movement under the influ
unit potential difference.

ionic silver - A solution consisting of water and silver ions (dissolved silver). Contains no silver
particlesand does not exhibit a Tyndall Effect . Is an ionic conductor and the electrical
conductivity is directly related to the ionic concentration . The ions in solution remain dispers
to mutual repulsioncreated by the ionic charge . Has a metallic taste which is quite pronounce
high concentrations. When the water is evaporated the solids that remain consist of silver compou
such as silver carbonate and silver hydroxide depending on what anions where in solution with the
Silver hydroxide reduces to silver oxide and hydrogen. Silver carbonate reduces to silver oxide an
carbon dioxide.

ion-selective electrode (ISE) - An electrode or electrode assembly with a potential that is dep
on the concentration of an ionic species in the test solution and is used for electroanalysis. Ion-se
electrodes are often membrane type electrodes.
isoelectric point - The point on a pH vs zeta potential plot where the line crosses zero on the
potential axis. The pH value that produces a zeta potential value of zero.

isotonic solution - A solution which is adjusted so that the osmotic pressure is the same as i
reference fluid, such as a body fluid. A salt solution listed as isotonic would have its osmotic pres
adjusted to be the same as blood or siliva, depending on the intended use. An isotonic saline solu
would generally contain 6.5 mg of sodium chloride (salt) per liter of DI water.

Mesocopper - Registered trademarked name of a copper colloid consisting of mesoparticles of

0.9999 pure copper suspended in pure deionized water. Mesocopper is produced by
the mesoprocess and is characterized as having particles that are typically less than 2 nm in dia

Mesogold - Registered trademarked name of a gold colloid consisting of mesoparticles of 0.99

pure gold suspended in pure deionized water. Mesogold is produced by the mesoprocess and is

characterized as having particles that are typically less than 2 nm in diameter.

mesoparticle - Very small particles whose size is greater than an atom but smaller than convent
small particles. Size ranges from sub-nanometer to 10 nanometers in diameter and typically con
10 - 30,000 atoms per particle. Mesoparticles may be produced by first reducing the element to it
monoatomic state and then coalescing particles from the individual atoms.

Mesoprocess - The mesoprocess is an advanced proprietary process developed at Colloidal

Science Laboratory, Inc. that produces metal colloids consisting of mesoparticles . The proces
produces colloids whose particles are typically less than 2 nm in diameter.

Mesosilver- Registered trademarked name of a silver colloid consisting of mesoparticles of 0.9

fine silver suspended in pure deionized water. Mesosilver is produced by the mesoprocess and is
characterized as having a high percentage of the total silver content contained in particles that ar
typically less than 2 nm in diameter.
metallic silver - Refers to silver particles found in colloidal silver as opposed to silver in ionic
micron - One millionth of a meter (10


meter). Also, one micron = 1000 nanometers.

molar concentration - See concentration .

molecular weight - The weight of a molecule of a compound that may be calculated as the sum
theatomic weights of its constituent atoms.

molecule One of the fundamental units forming a chemical compound ; the smallest part of a
chemical compound that can take part in a chemical reaction. In most covalent
compounds, molecules consist of groups of atoms held together by covalent or coordinate bond
compounds do not have single molecules, being collections of oppositely charged ions.

mutual repulsion A force that disperses ions and particles having a like charge. For ions , the
that cause the repulsive force is ionic charge . Ions in solution are dispersed uniformly througho
solution by this repulsive force. For particles it is the zeta potential that results from adsorbed
the solution. In a colloid, mutual repulsion is the force that maintains the stability of the colloid. I
force that counters the attractive force that would cause flocculation .
mV - Symbol and abbreviation of millivolt (= 10-3 volt, one thousandth of a volt).

nanometer (nm) - A billionth of a meter (10-9 meters). A nanometer is the unit of measure used
measure the wavelength of visible light. For example, the thickness of a human hair is approxima
76,200 nanometers or 3 thousandths of an inch. Particles sizes in silver colloids are expressed in
nanoparticle - A solid cluster of atoms.
neutron - A neutral hadron that is stable in the atomic nucleus but decays into a proton ,

an electron , and antineutrino with a mean life of 12 minutes outside the nucleus. Its rest mass i
slightly greater than that of the proton, being 1.6749286 X 10 -27 kg. Neutrons occur in all atomic
except normal hydrogen.

N.I.S.T. - The National Institute of Standards and Technology, formerly known as the Natio
Bureau of Standards. Founded in 1901, NIST is a non-regulatory federal agency within the
U.S. Commerce Department's Technology Administration. NIST's mission is to develop and
promote measurement, standards, and technology to enhance productivity, facilitate trade, and im
the quality of life.

noble metal - A precious metal with a highly positive potential relative to the hydrogen electrod
having a marked resistance to chemical attack. i.e. a metal that does not easily combine to form
compounds. The noble metals include gold, silver, and the platinum group of six metals which incl
platinum, rhodium, palladium, ruthenium, osmium, and iridium.

ORME - An acronym for Obitally Rearranged M onoatomic Element. ORMEs were discovered by D
Hudson who holds worldwide patents on eleven ORMEs which represent a new form of matter. OR
areatoms of elements whose orbital electrons have been altered from the energy state as it no
exists in the element. ORMEs exist for certain transition and noble metal elements, specifically, go
silver, copper, cobalt, nickel, and the six platinum group elements, i.e., platinum, palladium, rhodi
iridium, ruthenium, and osmium. The materials are stable, non-metallic-like forms of the describe
transition and noble metal elements, and have a previously unknown electron orbital rearrangeme
the "d", "s", and vacant "p" orbitals. The electron rearrangement bestows upon the monoatomic
elements unique electronic, chemical, magnetic, and physical properties.

An ORME has the same number of neutrons , protons , and electrons as the normal element bu
physical properties are dramatically different because the electrons have been rearranged and bec
stable at an increased energy state. ORMEs will produce different atomic
absorption/emission spectral lines than normal elements which make their presence difficult to
using atomic absorption/emission based spectroscopy. Mass spectroscopy techniques such as ICPwhich are based on the mass/charge ratios of the neutrons and protons in the nucleus of the atom
remain unaffected by the rearranged orbital electrons and are able to detect the ORMEs.
osmosis - The difussion of a fluid through a semi permeable membrane.

osmotic pressure - The pressure in atmospheres or mm of Hg (Torr) required to prevent osmos

oxidation and reduction - complementary chemical reactions characterized by the loss or gain,
respectively, of one or more electrons by an atom or molecule. Originally the term oxidation w
to refer to a reaction in which oxygen combined with an element or compound, e.g., the reaction
magnesium with oxygen to form magnesium oxide or the combination of carbon monoxide with o
to form carbon dioxide. Similarly, reduction referred to a decrease in the amount of oxygen in a
substance or its complete removal, e.g., the reaction of cupric oxide and hydrogen to form copper
water. When an atom or molecule combines with oxygen, it tends to give up electrons to the oxyg
forming a chemical bond . Similarly, when it loses oxygen, it tends to gain electrons. Such chang
now described in terms of changes in the oxidation number, or oxidation state, of the atom or mo
(see valence ). Thus oxidation has come to be defined as a loss of electrons or an increa

oxidation number, whilereduction is defined as a gain of electrons or a decrease in oxida

number, whether or not oxygen itself is actually involved in the reaction.

particle charge A charge imparted to the particle due to adsorption of ions from the
surroundingsolution . The charge is produced at the slipping plane surrounding the particle and
called the zeta potential . Particle behavior in an electric field is determined by its zeta potential

particle concentration - A measure of the amount of metal contained in the particles found in a
colloid. An important property in determining the particle surface area . Particle surface area in
as particle concentration increases. Particle concentration is expressed in parts-per-million (PPM)
metal contained in the particles.

particle size distribution - An important property of colloidal solutions. The distribution of parti
sizes of a colloid is determined by measurement using Photon Correlation Spectroscopy (PCS)
measurement provides a histogram type plot whose x-axis is size in nanometers and y-axis show
percentage of particles of that size. The data is presented in tabular format as well. The most
appropriate type of size distribution for silver colloids is a distribution plot based on the volume of
contained in the particles for each size bin.

particle surface area (cm2/mL) - Total surface area in square centimeters (cm 2) of all the partic
one milli-liter(mL) of colloid. The surface area is a calculated value based on the concentration o
particles (ppm) and the mean diameter of the particles. The mean diameter is determined from th
volume analysis of the Particle Size Report generated by the Malvern Photon Correlation
Spectrometer. If the volume analysis consists of more that one peak, then total surface area is
calculated as a weighted sum of the surface areas of the mean particle diameters at the peaks. Th
calculation assumes the particles are spherical. Particle surface area is inversely proportional to p
size, which means for a constant concentration of particles, the surface area increases as the part
size decreases. For example, the particle surface area of 1 ppm of particles having a mean diamet
10 nm is 0.423 cm2/mL, while 1 ppm of 1 nm diameter particles has a particle surface area of 4.2
cm 2/mL.

Particle surface area serves as a metric for comparing different colloidal solutions. In the chemica
reactivity increases with increasing surface area. Therefore, the effectiveness of colloidal solutions
increases with decreasing particle size.

pH - A measure of the acidity/alkalinity (basicity) of a solution . The pH scale extends from 0 to

(inaqueous solutions at room temperature). A pH value of 7 indicates a neutral solution. A pH v
less than 7 indicates an acidic solution, the acidity increases with decreasing pH value. A pH valu
more than 7 indicates a basic solution, the basicity or alkalinity increases with increasing pH valu

The pH of a solution is equal to the negative, ten-based logarithm of the activity of the
hydrogen ions in the solution. Neutral water dissociates into equal amounts of hydrogen
(H+) cations and hydroxyl (OH-)anions . As the product of the concentrations (activities) of th
ions is always a constant 10-14 , pure water has a pH of 7. In acidic solutions the hydrogen ions ar
excess, while in basic solutions the hydroxyl ions are in excess.

Photon Correlation Spectroscopy(PCS) - A technique to measure the size of particles disperse

fluid by collecting data from scattered laser light from a sample maintained at a precise temperatu
The instrument is a Photon Correlation Spectrometer and is designed for characterizing particles s
and zeta potential of colloidal solutions. Particles dispersed in a fluid are in constant random mo
- Brownian motion . The speed of movement is dependent on the size of the particle, as well as
temperature and other variables such as viscosity. The speed of particle movement is measured b
analyzing the scattered light, and the particle size is determined from the speed. The PCS is proba
single most important tool available for characterizing particles in colloids. The Malvern Zetasizer
3000HSA is the PCS used at theColloidal Science Laboratory to make these measurements.

polarization - The change of potential of an electrode from its equilibrium potential upon th
application of a current.

polychromatic - Electromagnetic radiation that consists of a mixture of different wavelengths (i.

light that contains all the colors of the rainbow). This need not refer only to visible radiation.

polymer - A substance having large molecules formed by the joining of smaller molecules, refer
as monomers. There are number of natural polymers, such as polysaccharides. Protein polymers c
derived from animal collagen (gelatin), dairy (casein and whey) and grains (gluten). Synthetic po
are extensively used in plastics. Polymers do not have a definite formula since they consist of cha
different lengths. Polymers are used as surfactants to stabilize colloids by steric effect .

proton - An elementary particle the is stable, bears a positive charge equal to an in magnitude to
of theelectron , and has a mass of 1.672614 X 10-27 kg, which is 1836.12 time that of an electron
proton is a hydrogen ion and occurs in all atomic nuclei.

reference electrode - An electrode that has a well known and stable equilibrium electrode
potential . It is used as a reference point against which the potential of other electrodes (typica
of the working electrode or measuring electrode) can be measured in an electrochemical cell .
principle it can be any electrode fulfilling the above requirements. In practice, there are a few
commonly-used (and usually commercially available) electrode assemblies that have an electrode
potential independent of theelectrolyte used in the cell. Some common reference electrodes incl
the silver/silver-chloride electrode, calomel electrode, and hydrogen electrode.

Strictly speaking, there can be a small change in the potential of these electrodes depending on th
electrolyte because the presence of a liquid-junction potential. This is very often (justifiably or no
ignored. The liquid-junction potential is also minimized by the use of high concentration potassium
chloride as the filling solution of the reference electrodes, because the diffusion rate of both ions i
closely the same in these solutions.

salt - chemical compound (other than water) formed by a chemical reaction between an acid and
a base. The most familiar salt is sodium chloride , the principal component of common table salt.
Sodium chloride, NaCl, and water, H2O, are formed by neutralization of sodium hydroxide, NaOH,
with hydrogen chloride, HCl, an acid. Most salts are ionic compounds (see chemical bond ); they
made up of ionsrather than molecules. The chemical formula for an ionic salt is an empirical form
does not represent a molecule but shows the proportion of atoms of the elements that make up th
The formula for sodium chloride, NaCl, indicates that equal numbers of sodium and chlorine atom

combine to form the salt. In the reaction of sodium with chlorine, each sodium atom loses an elec
becoming positively charged, and each chlorine atom gains an electron, becoming negatively char
(see oxidation and reduction); there are equal numbers of positively charged sodium ions and
negatively charged chloride ions in sodium chloride. The ions in a solid salt are usually arranged in
definite crystalline structure, each positive ion being associated with a fixed number of negative io
and vice versa.

saturated - 1) (of a compound ) Consisting of molecules that have only single bonds (i.e. no d
or triple bonds). Saturated compounds can undergo substitution reactions but not addition reactio
(of asolution ) Containing the maximum equilibrium amount of solute at a given temperature. I
saturated solution the dissolved substance is in equilibrium with the undissolved substance; i.e. th
at which solute particles leave the solution is exactly balanced by the rate at which they dissolve.
solution containing less than the equilibrium amount is said to be unsaturated. One containing m
than the equilibrium amount issupersaturated. Supersaturated solutions can be made by slowly
a saturated solution. Such solutions are metastable; if a small crystal seed is added the excess so
crystallizes out of solution.

sedimentation - The settling of the solid particles through a liquid either to produce a concentra
slurry from a dilute suspension or to clarify a liquid containing solid particles. Usually this relies
force of gravity, but if the particles are too small or the difference between the solid and liquid ph
too small, a centrifuge may be used.

serum - 1) The clear portion of any body fluid; the clear fluid moistening serous membranes. 2)
serum; the clear liquid that separates from blood on clotting. The cell-free portion of the blood fro
which the fibrinogen has been separated in the process of clotting.

silver atom (Ag) The smallest part of elemental silver that can exist chemically. Atoms consis
small dense nucleus of protons and neutrons surrounded by moving electrons . The number of
electrons equals the number of protons so the overall charge is zero. The electrons are considered
move in circular or elliptical orbits, or more accurately, in regions of space around the nucleus. Th
of a silver atom is 0.288 nm in diameter. Silver has an atomic number of 47, which means it has
protons in the nucleus and 47 electrons orbiting the nucleus. Silver has an atomic weight of 108
Silver atoms do not contribute to the electrical conductivity of solutions that contain them. Ad
silver atoms to the solution does not increase the conductivity. Silver is not soluble in water and
not combine readily to form compounds .

silver chloride (AgCl)- A compound of silver formed when silver ions (cations ) combine wit
chloride ions (anions ). A single molecule of silver choride is produced when a single silver ion
combines with a single chloride ion. Silver chloride molecules are draw to each other by van der
force of attraction to form every larger particles.

silver ion (Ag+) An ion of silver is formed when a single electron is removed from a
silver atomcausing the ion to have a positive charge. An ion that has a positive charge is attracte
the cathode and is referred to as a cathode ion or cation . Silver ions are water-soluble and exi
in the presence of water or other solvent . Silver ions diffuse through a solution due to the mu
repulsion they have for each other caused by their ionic charge . Silver ions exist as individual
in solution and do not cluster together to form particles like atoms. A silver ion is a different form

matter than an atom of silver and has entirely different physical properties. While an ion possesse
charge owing to the missing electron, it is not considered an atom of silver with a charge. Ionic c
is caused by the missing electron and is different from particle charge that is caused
by adsorption of ions on the surface of the particle. If the water containing silver ions is evapora
the ions are forced to combine with anions present in the solution and will thus become a silver
compound when the water is removed. The silver compound(s) produced is determined by
the anions present in the solution before the water is removed. Silver ions do contribute to
the electrical conductivity of solutions that contain them. Adding silver ions to the solution doe
increase the conductivity. Silver ions are soluble in water and do combine readily to form compou

silver particles Particles are clusters of silver atoms . The size of the particles found in a collo
range in size from less than 1 nanometer (nm) to 1000 nm. The size of the particles typically fou
silver colloids is under 100 nm. The atoms in a silver particle remain held together by van der W
force of attraction that causes like (identical) atoms to be attracted to each other. A particle 1 nm
diameter consists of 31 silver atoms, a particle 10 nm in diameter consists of about 31000 atoms
particle 20 nm in diameter consists of about 250,000 atoms. Silver particles do not contribute to
the electrical conductivity of solutions that contain them. Adding silver particles to the solution
not increase the conductivity. For more information on the attributes of silver particles see Attrib
Silver Particles .

silver protein - Also know as "mild silver protein", is a combination of metallic silver particles
suspended in a protein solution. While various protein binders may be used, the protein most com
used is an animal protein called gelatin. Gelatin is obtained by boiling the skin, tendons, and liga
of animals. As a result, it contains protein, collagen (a primary component of joints, cartilage, and
and various amino acids. Gelatin is widely known by the trade name Knox Gelatin. Gelatin is wa
soluble and will remain in liquid form provided a sufficient amount of water is present. Most prod
claiming to be high concentrations of colloidal silver, typically in the range of 30 to10,000 ppm
fact silver protein colloids. While some of these products are labeled as Silver Protein or Mild
Protein, many such products are simply labeled as colloidal silver and the word protein does n
appear anywhere on the label or in the product advertising literature. Silver protein products gene
have very large silver particles. For these metallic silver particles to remain suspended in water, th
need additional buoyancy to keep from sinking. This is why the gelatin is added. The gelatin mole
will encapsulate each particle of silver and add enough buoyancy so that it does not sink to the bo
It is analogous to tying a balloon to a brick to keep the brick from sinking. Due to the high concen
of large silver particles these products are known to causeargyria, a condition that causes the s
turn blue-gray. Because of the large size of the silver particles these products have very low par
surface area.
Three characteristics of silver protein products are:

1. Makes foam: When shaken, a silver protein product produces foam above the liquid that w
persist for minutes after being shaken. This is probably the single most reliable indicator. Ev
when the product label identifies the product simply as colloidal silver and never mention
word protein, this indicator will signal the presence of a protein binder. Shake the bottle an
for foaming. When the foam persists, protein is present.

2. Concentration: Silver protein products tend to have very high concentration values, typic

the range of 30 to 10,000 ppm. Concentration is expressed in parts per million (ppm) a
numerically the same as milligrams of silver per liter of water (mg/L).
3. Color: The color ranges from light amber to almost black with an increasing concentration
For more information on silver protein, see The Truth About Silver Protein

silver solution - A solution consisting of ionic silver (silver dissolved in water), but without
metallicsilver particles . A silver solution is not colloidal silver since no particles are present. Ma
products claiming to be colloidal silver are technically silver solutions since the entire silver conten
the form ofsilver ions and they do not contain silver particles.

SI unit - Any of the units of the Systme International d'Units, or International System of Units,
adopted in 1960 at the Eleventh General Conference of Weights and Measures. SI units are based
metric system and many are derived from natural constants.

slipping plane - A notional boundary at the diffuse (second layer) of ions surrounding a particle
dispersed in a liquid is known as the hydrodynamic boundary layer. The plane at this boundary
surface of hydrodynamic shear, or the slipping plane. The potential at this boundary is known as
the zeta potential .

solvation - Ions in solution are always surrounded by solvent molecules . A few of these mol
will be more or less strongly attached to the ion (mainly because of the attraction of the charged
thedipole of the solvent molecule) and this assembly may be considered as a single unit for some
purposes. E.g., the solvent molecules will move together with the ion
during diffusion and electromigration . The number of solvent molecules so attached to an ion
called the solvation number. The surface of anelectrode also can, and usually is, solvated. Sinc
electrodes usually have some excess charge (seeelectrical double layer ,) they also attract the
dipoles, and the electrode surface is usually covered by a monolayer of strongly oriented solvent

The solvation number is not very exactly defined since its value may depend on the measurement

solubility - The maximum amount of a species that can be dissolved in a given solvent. It is usua
expressed as the maximum achievable concentration . A solution is called "saturated" if it conta
maximum dissolvable amount.

solubility product - The solubility of slightly soluble salts is often expressed as the product of t
solubility concentrations of its ions . For example, the solubility product of silver chloride is the
product of the concentrations of the silver and chloride ions in the saturated solution of this salt.
significance of the solubility product is that its value cannot be exceeded even in the presence of o
dissolved salts. Consequently, the solubility of silver chloride is less in a solution containing pota
chloride than in pure water. This is because in the calculation of the solubility product one must us
"total" chloride concentration in the solution, therefore a silver concentration lower than in water

needed to satisfy a constant solubility product.

The solubility (the saturated solution concentration) of the salt, in the absence of any other disso
species in the solution, is the square root of the solubility product for a salt like the silver chloride
Strictly speaking, activities should be used instead of concentrations.
solute - The dissolved species (e.g., a salt) in a solution .

solution - A homogeneous mixture of a liquid (the solvent ) with a gas or solid (the solute ). In
solution, the molecules of the solute are discrete and mixed with the molecules of the solvent. T
usually some interaction between the solvent and the solute molecules (see solvation ). Two liqu
can mix on the molecular level are said to be miscible . In this case, the solvent is the major
component and the solute is the minor component.

solvent - A liquid that dissolves another substance or substances to form a solution . Polar
solvents are compounds such as water and liquid ammonia, which have dipole moments and
consequently high dielectric constants. These solvents are capable of dissolving ionic compounds
covalent compounds that ionize (seesolvation ). Nonpolar solvents are compounds such as
ethoxyethane and benzene, which do not have permanent dipole moments. These do not dissolve
compounds but will dissolve nonpolar covalent compounds. Solvents can be further categorized
according to their proton-donating and accepting properties.Amphiprotic solvents self-ionize an
therefore act as both a proton donators and acceptors. A typical example is water. Aprotic
solvents neither accept nor donate protons; tetrachloromethane (carbon tetrachloride) is an exam

specific conductance - The quantitative and characteristic measure of the conductivity of a giv
substance. This characteristic constant is the numerical value of the conductivity between two opp
sides of a unit cube (usually a cube of one centimeter) of the substance. Also called specific
conductivity .

standard hydrogen electrode (SHE) - The most fundamental reference electrode in

electrochemistry. "By definition" its equilibrium potential is considered zero at any temperature
because this electrode was chosen as an arbitrary zero point for electrode potentials . A zero po
needed since the potential of a single electrode cannot be measured, only the difference of two el
potentials is measurable. All electrode potentials are expressed on this hydrogen scale . It is a
hydrogen electrode with an electrolytecontaining unit concentration of
hydrogen ions and saturated with hydrogen gas at unit atmosphere pressure. This electrode can
somewhat inconvenient to use because of the need to supply hydrogen gas. Therefore, other refe
electrodes (e.g., calomel or silver/silver chloride) are often used instead, but the measured electr
potentials can be converted to the hydrogen scale. Also called normal hydrogen electrode.
Strictly speaking, one must use unit activity rather than concentration of hydrogen ions and
unit fugacityrather than unit pressure of hydrogen gas.
steric effect - An effect in which the rate or path of a chemical reaction depends on the size or
arrangement of groups in a molecule. More ...

strong interaction - Strong interaction force is responsible for the binding of

the protons and neutrons in an atom .

surfactant (surface active agent) - A substance, such as a detergent, added to a liquid to increa
spreading or wetting properties by reducing its surface tension.
suspension - A mixture in which small solid or liquid particles are suspended in a liquid or gas.

transmission electron microscopy (TEM) - A form of microscope that uses a beam

of electrons instead of a beam of light (as in an optical microscope) to form a large image of a v
small object. In optical microscopes the resolution is limited by the wavelength of the light. Highelectrons, however, can be associated with a considerably shorter wavelength than light; for exam
electrons accelerated to an energy of 105 electronvolts have a wavelength of
0.004 nanometers enabling a resolution of 0.2 - 0.5 nm to be achieved. The transmission elec
microscope has an electron beam, sharply focused by electron lenses, passing through a very th
specimen onto a fluorescent screen, where a visual image is formed. This image can be photograp

When used to observe colloidal silver solutions, the sample must be desiccated to remove the wat
removal of water forces the silver ions in solution to combine with anions in solution to form silv
compounds. This dramatically changes what was in solution so that what is observed using the TE
has little relationship to what was in the solution before desiccation. For this reason, the interpret
TEM images of ionic solutions becomes difficult in the extreme.

The TEM is sometimes used in an attempt to measure the size of particles in solution. The U.S. Na
Bureau of Standards (now N.I.S.T) has determined that it would required at least 10,000 TEM ima
analyzed in order to make a statistically valid measurement of particle size based on TEM images.
this reason, the TEM is not considered viable for measuring particle sizes.

true colloidal silver (true silver colloid) - This term is refers to silver colloids whose silver con
consist mainly of silver nanoparticles. The particle content must be greater than 50% of the total
content to qualify as a true silver colloid. True silver colloids will always exhibit an apparent color,
amber, because the nanoparticles absorb light energy from the visible spectrum typically at a wav
around 400 nm. The amber color is the complement of the absorbed wavelength. The highest
quality true silver colloids will appear as clear amber colored liquids without any
noticeable turbidity (cloudiness).

transition elements - or transition metals, in chemistry, group of elements characterized by the

of an inner d electron orbital as atomic number increases. This includes the elements from titaniu
copper, and those lying in the columns below them in the periodic table . Many of the chemical an
physical properties of the transition elements are due to their unfilled d orbitals. In the elements o
lanthanide series and the actinide series the inner f orbital is filled as atomic number increases; th
elements are often called the inner transition elements. Transition elements generally exhibit high
density, high melting point, magnetic properties, variable valence, and the formation of stable
coordination complexes. Their variable valence is due to the electrons in the d orbitals. The study
complex ions and compounds formed by transition metals is an important branch of chemistry. Ma

these complexes are highly colored and exhibit paramagnetism.

total silver - This refers to a measurement of a silver colloid that includes the silver content of
theparticles which is metallic silver and the silver ions which are in solution (dissolved). In addi
particles and ions, silver present in the form of silver compounds would also be included in the
measurement of total silver. High quality silver colloids contain almost no silver compounds.

turbidity - Cloudiness or opaqueness of water due to suspended particles in the water causing a
reduction in the transmission of light. Turbidity is measured by passing a beam of light through th
sample and detecting the scattered light at 90-degrees from the incident light. The unit of measur
the Nephelometric Turbidity Unit (NTU) which is numerically the same as a Formazin Turbidity Uni
(FTU). Calibration of the turbidimeter is by standards of known turbidity consisting of formazin so
For colloidal silver solutions the turbidity measurement provides a relative metric for Tyndall effec
Particles in solution affect Tyndall effect but ions do not.

Tyndall effect (TE) - The scattering of light as is passes through a medium containing small par
If apolychromatic beam of light is passed through a medium containing particles less than abou
twentieth of the wavelength of light, the scattered light appears blue. This accounts for blue appe
of tobacco smoke. At higher particle diameters, the scattered light remains polychromatic. The eff
seen in suspensions and metal colloids. For comparative purposes, Tyndall effect can be quantified
measuring the sample turbidity . Named after John Tyndall (1820-1893).

uncertainty principal (Heisenberg uncertainty principal; principal of indeterminism) - The princi

it is not possible to know with unlimited accuracy both the position and momentum of a particle. T
principal was discovered in 1927 by Werner Heisenberg (1901-76). The uncertainty arises becaus
order to locate the position of a particle exactly, an observer must be able to bounce off it a photo
radiation; this act of location itself alters the position of the particle in an unpredictable way. In ot
words, the act of observation alters that which is being observed.

valence - combining capacity of an atom expressed as the number of single bonds the atom can
or the number of electrons an element gives up or accepts when reacting to form a compound. At
are called monovalent, divalent, trivalent, or tetravalent, according to whether they form one, two
three, or four bonds (see chemical bond).

van der Waals force An attractive force between atoms and molecules, named after J. D. van
Waals (1837-1923). The force accounts for the term a/V 2 in van der Waals equation. These forces
much weaker than those arising from valence bonds are inversely proportional to the seventh pow
the distance between the atoms or molecules . There are three factors causing such forces: 1) d
dipole interaction, i.e. electrostatic attractions between two molecules with permanent dipole mom
2) dipole-induced dipole interactions, in which the dipole of one molecule polarizes a neighboring
molecule; 3) dispersion forces arising because of small instantaneous dipoles in atoms. When the
distance separating individual atoms is only a few atomic diameters, the force of attraction can ex
100,000 G-forces.

In a colloid, this attractive force would cause flocculation of the particles if it were not for the fo

ofmutual repulsion that counters this attractive force thus causing the colloid to be stable.

voltage - A term sometimes used interchangeably with electrical potential . See also cell volta

zeta potential - Zeta potential is a measure of the magnitude of the repulsion or attraction betw
particles. Most particles in a polar medium such as water will possess a surface charge. A charged
particle will attract ions of the opposite charge in the dispersant , forming a strongly bound laye
to the surface of the particle. Those ions further away from the core particle make up a diffuse lay
more loosely bound to the particle. Within this diffuse layer is a notional boundary, inside which th
particle and its associated ions act as a single entity, diffusing through the dispersion together.

The plane at this boundary is known as the surface of hydrodynamic shear, or the slipping plane
potential at this boundary is known as the zeta potential. It is important to note that the magnitu
the zeta potential is affected by both the nature of the surface of the particle, and the composition
thedispersant . Zeta potential is affected by pH. More ...

Zeta potential is an important property of colloidal solutions and is essential to the understanding
of colloid stability . The zeta potential of silver colloidal solutions has been measured to be betw
15 mV to 60 mV. More ...
Mesocopper, Mesosilver, and Mesogold are registered trademarks of Purest Colloids, Inc .

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