Surface and colloid chemistry

LBIR1346  2019-2020  Louvain-la-Neuve

Surface and colloid chemistry
3.0 credits
30.0 h


General physics, General chemistry, Introduction to thermodynamics

The prerequisite(s) for this Teaching Unit (Unité d’enseignement – UE) for the programmes/courses that offer this Teaching Unit are specified at the end of this sheet.

Main themes

Overview of colloidal systems and interfaces

Kinetic theory of colloidal systems: concepts, applications

Surface energy: concepts, applications

Adsorption: concepts, applications

Charged interfaces: physico-chemical models

Interactions between surfaces: concepts, applications


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    At the end of the course, the student will be able to:

    -       Rephrase the concepts which allow understanding physico-chemical phenomena involving dispersed systems and interfaces (surfaces, colloids, nanometer-scale and supramolecular systems), and their impact on the behavior of such systems at the macroscale;

    -       Evaluate the consequences of these phenomena, based on realistic numerical values;

    -       Establish links between phenomena occurring at different scales (nano, micro, macro);

    -       Explain phenomena observed in daily life or in typical bioengineering applications (materials, food, living systems, soils and environment, chemical industries, biotechnology) on the basis of concepts developed in the course;

    -       Predict the behavior of simple systems.

The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.


Introduction: overview of colloidal systems and interfaces.

Kinetic theory of colloidal systems: sedimentation, centrifugation, diffusion, Brownian movement.

Surface energy: surface tension, Laplace equation, wetting - capillarity - adhesion - cohesion - dispersion, porosimetry, illustrations.

Adsorption from solution: properties of monolayers, adsorption, Gibbs equation, Langmuir isotherm, illustrations.

Properties of charged surfaces: origin of charge, physical and chemical models of the double layer, interactions between particles and stability of colloidal systems.

Teaching methods

Lectures illustrated by experimental observations and mixed with the resolution of numerical exercises.

Evaluation methods

During the semester: tests on limited parts of the course (25% of final grade). At the end of the semester: written exam, including an open book question (75% of final grade).

Online resources

website on the Moodle platform


voir site Moodle du cours

Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Program title
Master [120] in Environmental Bioengineering

Bachelor in Bioengineering

Additionnal module in Chemistry

Advanced Master in Brewing Engineering