Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol.309, No.2, 350-359, 2007
Faradaic double layer depolarization in electrokinetics: Onsager relations and substrate limitations
More often than not, the measurement of interfacial potentials by means of electrokinetic techniques is affected by interfering processes that may relax or even annihilate their primary response function. Among these processes are faradaic ones, provided that the substrate is sufficiently conducting and a redox function is available, and non-faradaic ones, if geometrical constraints are in effect. Ample experimental evidence is available, e.g., in the collapse of streaming potentials generated by metal/electrolyte solution interfaces, the bipolar microelectrodic redox processes in fluidized beds of metallic particles, and the "superfast" electrophoresis of dispersed ion exchanger particles and electron-conducting particles. Common feature of these apparently disparate phenomena is that the lateral electric field is affected by coupling with transversal depolarization fields, or by conductance gradients due to Donnan effects. Recent work has vigorously analyzed the deformation of the lateral electric field in a (streaming potential) slit cell by electron transfer reactions at the interface, taking into account both convective diffusion of the electroactive species and kinetics of the interfacial electron transfer reaction. Here a common, generic basis for faradaic and non-faradaic double layer depolarization is formulated along the lines set by Onsager, and methodologies for retrieving the underlying electrokinetic parameters from experimental data are evaluated. Particular attention is paid to the limitations of double layer polarization, as posed by the substrate. (C) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.