Aggregation and Gel Formation in Biopolymer Solutions


  • Peter Schurtenberger
  • Anna Stradner
  • Sara Romer
  • Claus Urban
  • Frank Scheffold



Aggregation, Casein micelles, Colloidal gels, Diffusing wave spectroscopy (dws), Sol-gel transition


The application of light scattering to concentrated colloidal suspensions has often been considered too complicated due to strong multiple scattering. Here we show that diffusing wave spectroscopy (DWS) permits the characterization of dynamic and static properties of such systems on a large range of time and length scales. In particular we focus on the aggregation and sol-gel transition in different colloidal systems such as latex suspensions or milk. Using DWS we obtain quantitative information about the microscopic dynamics all the way from an aggregating suspension to the final gel, thereby covering the whole sol-gel transition. At the gel point a dramatic change of the particle dynamics from diffusion to a subdiffusive arrested motion is observed. As biopolymer solutions and gels represent one of the most interesting class of gelling systems we have performed a systematic study using solutions of casein micelles which we destabilized and investigated during the sol-gel transition using DWS and rheological measurements. We can find the same behavior as found in concentrated suspensions of monodisperse latex spheres that undergo a sol-gel transition. The changes observed in the microscopic dynamics can be clearly linked to the formation of a macroscopic gel with drastically modified viscoelastic properties.




How to Cite

P. Schurtenberger, A. Stradner, S. Romer, C. Urban, F. Scheffold, Chimia 2001, 55, 155, DOI: 10.2533/chimia.2001.155.



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