IUPAC Report

IUPAC technical report: Measurement and Interpretation of Electrokinetic Phenomena

In this report the status quo and recent progress in electrokinetics are reviewed. Practical rules are recommended for performing electrokinetic measurements and interpreting their results in terms of well-defined quantities, the most familiar being the zeta potential. This potential is a property of charged interfaces and it should be independent of the technique used for its determination. However, often the zeta potential is not the only property electrokinetically characterizing the electrical state of the interfacial region; the excess conductivity of the stagnant layer is an additional characteristic. The requirement to obtain the zeta potential is that the electrokinetic theories be correctly used and applied within their range of validity. Basic theories and their application ranges are discussed. A thorough description of the main electrokinetic methods is given; special attention is paid to their ranges of applicability as well as to the validity of the underlying theoretical models. Electrokinetic consistency tests are proposed in order to assess the validity of the obtained zeta potentials. The recommendations given in the report apply mainly to smooth and homogeneous solid particles and plugs in aqueous systems; some attention is paid to non-aqueous media and less ideal surfaces.

The report was published in Pure Applied Chemistry 77 (2005) 1753-1805 and in the Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 309 (2007) 194-224.