Ice/Water Interface: Zeta Potential, Point of Zero Charge, and Hydrophobicity.

Research paper by J Drzymala, Z Sadowski, L Holysz, E Chibowski

Indexed on: 23 Dec '99Published on: 23 Dec '99Published in: Journal of Colloid and Interface Science


The ice/water interface is a common and important part of many biological, environmental, and technological systems. In contrast to its importance, the system has not been extensively studied and is not well understood. Therefore, in this paper the properties of the H(2)O ice/water and D(2)O ice/water interfaces were investigated. Although the zeta potential vs pH data points were significantly scattered, it was determined that the isoelectric point (iep) of D(2)O ice particles in water at 3.5 degrees C containing 10(-3) M NaCl occurs at about pH 3.0. The negative values of the zeta potential, calculated from the electrophoretic mobility, seem to decrease with decreasing content of NaCl, while the iep shifts to a higher pH. The point of zero charge (pzc) of D(2)O ice and H(2)O ice, determined by changes in pH of 10(-4) M NaCl aqueous solution at 0.5 degrees C after the ice particle addition, was found to be very different from the iep and equal to pH 7.0 +/- 0.5. The shift of the iep with NaCl concentration and the difference in the positions of the iep and pzc on the pH scale point to complex specific adsorption of ions at the interface. Interestingly, similar values of iep and pzc were found for very different systems, such as hydrophilic ice and highly hydrophobic hexadecane droplets in water. A comparison of the zeta potential vs pH curves for hydrophilic ice and hydrophobic materials that do not possess dissociative functional groups at the interface (diamond, air bubbles, bacteria, and hexadecane) indicated that all of them have an iep near pH 3.5. These results indicate that the zeta potential and surface charge data alone cannot be used to delineate the electrochemical properties of a given water/moiety interface because similar electrical properties do not necessary mean a similar structure of the interfacial region. A good example is the aliphatic hydrocarbon/water interface in comparison to the ice/water interface. Although the experiments were carried out with care, both the zeta potential, measured with a precise ZetaPlus meter, and DeltapH values (a measure of surface charge) vs pH were significantly scattered, and the origin of dissemination of the data points was not established. Differently charged ice particles and not fully equilibrium conditions at the ice/water interface may have been responsible for the dissemination of the data. Copyright 1999 Academic Press.