Surface Zeta Potential

Tony E. Thomas, Saif Al Aani, Darren L. Oatley-Radcliffe, Paul Williams, Nidal Hilal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A novel technique employing an Uzigirs dip cell arrangement is used in conjunction with Laser Doppler Electrophoresis for the determination of the surface zeta potential for a UF, NF, and RO membrane. To the authors best knowledge this is the first study employing Laser Doppler Electrophoresis and Electro-osmotic Flow Mapping for membrane surface charge determination. High correlation of the regression fit (R 2> 0.95) for a carboxylated polystyrene latex particle electrophoretic mobility was achieved at low electrolyte concentrations (1mM and 10mM NaCl), but the reliability and accuracy of the extrapolated zeta potential values were problematic at higher concentration due to high measurement uncertainty (> 10% in some cases). Changes in the applied electric field increased the phase resolution of 50mM NaCl electrolyte solutions between 0.5-2.0 V. However, the effects of Joule heating at higher voltages compromised 50mM NaCl sample integrity. When compared with the established Tangential Streaming Potential method, Laser Doppler Electrophoresis measurements provided similar zeta potential values and trends indicating that this new methodology can indeed be employed for membrane characterization purposes; however, further research needs to be conducted in order to optimize this new technique and set appropriate operating limits.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Membrane Science and Research
StatePublished - 2016


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