Resonance properties of quartz crystal microbalance immersed in high solid content suspensions

J. A. Botha, T. N. Hunter, D. Johannsmann, D. Austin, C. S. Hodges, G. A. Mackay, S. E. Woodbury, S. Biggs, D. Harbottle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The resonance properties, frequency and half-band-half-width, of a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) immersed in concentrated suspensions of 16.2 vol% TiO 2 are shown to be a function of pH. The overall QCM response is dependent on the complex interactions between the QCM sensor and overlying particle suspension. Atomic force microscopy confirms pH dependent interaction forces between the QCM sensor (gold-coated) and a TiO 2 particle: a strong attraction is measured between pH 4–4.5, and the interaction becomes increasingly repulsive at all pH > 6.5. Yield stress measurements of the concentrated TiO 2 suspensions also confirm the changing particle-particle interaction strength as the pH is adjusted from acidic to basic conditions. For the chosen system, the total potential energy of interaction (V T ) between the sensor-suspension (Au-TiO 2 ) is comparatively stronger than the particle-particle (TiO 2 -TiO 2 ) interaction; hence the QCM responds to changes in V T sensor-suspension, as verified by the calculated interaction energy between two dissimilar surfaces (Hogg-Healy-Fuerstenau (HHF) theory), and not the suspension yield stress. Slight deviation between the measured QCM responses and the theoretical sphere-plate interaction strength is shown over a narrow pH range and likely corresponds to strengthening particle-particle interactions. Although the suspensions exhibit significant yield strengths, the QCM response can be suitably described by the sensor-suspension contact mechanics of inertial loading. Combined with our previous study [1], the current study confirms the suspension yield strength can only be measured when V T sensor-suspension is attractive and comparatively weaker than V T particle-particle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-236
Number of pages7
JournalColloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2019


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