Ultrasonic-assisted de-agglomeration and power draw characterization of silica nanoparticles.
AbstractBreakage of nanoparticle cluster require high-intensity devices for stable and uniform distribution of aggregates. The ultra-sonication process is a high energy-intensive technique that produces cavitation effect to break the aggregates. In the present study, ultra-sonication is used for the de-agglomeration of fumed silica nanoparticles in low to high viscosity liquids. Water- and glycerol-based dispersion has been investigated at different solid loadings (up to 10 wt% for water-based dispersion and 5 wt% in glycerol-based dispersion) and viscosity of continuous phase (1-100 mPa.s). Breakup mechanism and kinetics have been studied at optimized operating conditions and no significant effect is found at different solid loadings on breakup mechanism. Particle size measurements are reported and found that volume of fine generation increased with an increase in sonication time. Further, it is observed that the stability of dispersion in the liquid is very high even at high concentration of solid used. Larger agglomerates are found at high viscosity of continuous phase and a lag is also observed for 100 mPa.s glycerol solution even at low solid loading (1 wt%). From, rheological characterizations it is found that the behavior of dispersed solution changed with time, temperature and solid loading. Erosion is found to be the breakup mechanism and further, validated with scattering light characterization. Furthermore, power draw increased with an increase in the viscosity of continuous phase, however, no significant effect of solid loading is observed. It is also observed that process is more energy-efficient at higher solid loading as the volume of fine produced is more as compared to low solid loading. Therefore, it can be concluded that the stable and uniform dispersion of nanoparticles can be achieved using an ultra-sonication device at high solid loading in viscous liquids.