Quantitative modeling of aggregating colloidal systems is the underlying problem in many industrial processes, such as micro and nanoparticle processing, crystallization or flocculation. Population balance models with various aggregation and breakage kernels have been proposed in order to describe aggregating systems, but they have been rarely validated against appropriate experimental data. Typically, model parameters are fitted against a single measured moment of the cluster distribution which can usually be equivalently described using several variations of the set of parameters underlying the relevant aggregation, breakage and restructuring kernels. In order to discriminate among alternative models we propose an approach based on measurement and quantitative modeling of multiple moments of the cluster mass distribution, such as those obtained from static light scattering measurements. This approach is applied to aggregation processes in turbulent conditions in order to test alternative kernels for aggregation, breakage, and restructuring kinetics. We present a detailed study on the sensitivity of measurables from static light scattering with respect to commonly used aggregation and breakage kinetic models. In particular, we analyze the dynamic and steady state behavior of two measurables: the average radius of gyration and the average zero angle intensity which represent two independent moments of the cluster mass distribution. In addition, we discuss the effect of cluster structure and mass distribution on the average structure factor and the apparent fractal dimension measured by static light scattering, in order to assess what structural information can be reliably extracted from such measurements.
- colloidal dispersions
- chemical engineering