Surface activity and flocculation behavior of polyethylene glycol-functionalized silica nanoparticles
Journal article, 2015

Colloidal silica nanoparticles have been functionalized with methyl polyethylene glycol silane (mPEG silane) and the PEGylated particles have been characterized with focus on exploring their surface chemical properties. The degree of surface functionalization was quantified using NMR diffusometry, and the measurements showed that the silane binds covalently to the silica surface. Samples with surface coverages ranging from 0.068 to 0.315 gmol silane/m(2) have been analyzed. The functionalized particles proved to be surface active and showed a significant reduction in surface charge and zeta potential with increasing degree of PEG functionalization. All samples showed colloidal stability at neutral pH and above within the range studied. At lower pH, the samples with low surface coverage displayed a reversible flocculation behavior, while samples with a high surface coverage and samples without functionalization remained stable. This suggests that steric stabilization is effective at low pH when the surface coverage is high enough; electrostatic stabilization is effective for samples without functionalization; and that inter-particle PEG-silica interactions cause flocculation of particles with too low degrees of PEG functionalization.

Dynamic light scattering (DLS)

NMR diffusometry

PEGylated colloidal silica

Surface activity


Sanna Björkegren

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Lars Nordstierna

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Applied Chemistry, Applied Surface Chemistry

Anders Törncrona

Akzo Nobel Surface Chemistry

Michael Persson

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Energy and Material, Environmental Inorganic Chemistry

Akzo Nobel Surface Chemistry

Anders Palmqvist

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Applied Chemistry, Applied Surface Chemistry

Journal of Colloid and Interface Science

0021-9797 (ISSN)

Vol. 452 215-223

Subject Categories

Physical Chemistry



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