Consolidation behaviour in sedimentation of TiO2 suspensions in the presence of electrolytes

Jan Gustafsson, Erik Nordenswan, Jarl Rosenholm

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19 Citations (Scopus)


The consolidation of TiO(2) suspensions (anatase and rutile) due to gravity sedimentation in the presence of electrolytes has been investigated as a function of pH. Sodium and barium nitrate were used as flocculating electrolytes. The particle interaction was related to the zeta potential and the thickness of the electrical double layer, kappa(-1), by utilizing the repulsive barrier in the classical DLVO theory. The stability of the suspensions was represented as the average final solids content of the sediment cake, phi(fin). The batch sedimentation process was followed by scanning the sample cell with X-rays, from which the solids content and the particle size were calculated. Generally, dense sediments, with phi(fin) up to volume fractions of 0.5, were found for stable suspensions. Flocculated suspensions produced sediments with low phi(fin). The phi(fin) was observed to increase linearly with increasing repulsive barrier. However, at pH values only slightly higher than the isoelectric point (pH(iep)) the phi(fin) remained low until it returned to linearity at a pH much higher than pH(iep). This was attributed to the stronger affinity of sodium than of nitrate for the particle surface, which may be explained by the higher negative hydration energy of sodium. The stronger affinity of sodium was also shown as unsymmetrical distribution of phi(fin) around pH(iep), with stronger flocculation at pH>pH(iep). The interpretation of phi(fin) as a function of the repulsive barrier (or kappa(-1)) also made it possible to distinguish between the adsorption mechanisms of ions from solution. Addition of electrolyte at a fixed low and high pH (surface positively and negatively charged, respectively) clearly showed the specificity in adsorption and consequent flocculation of the barium ion from the indifferent nitrate. Sodium was, however, again observed to flocculate the TiO(2) suspensions slightly more strongly than nitrate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235–243
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - 2003
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Consolidation
  • Sedimentation
  • Isoelectric point
  • electrolytes
  • Anatase
  • Rutile


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