Abstract:
A numerical method is presented for first-principle simulations of charged colloidal dispersions in electrolyte solutions. Utilizing a smoothed profile for colloid-solvent boundaries, efficient mesoscopic simulations are enabled for modeling dispersions of many colloidal particles exhibiting many-body electrostatic interactions. The validity of the method was examined for simple colloid geometries, and the efficiency was demonstrated by calculating stable structures of two-dimensional dispersions, which resulted in the formation of colloidal crystals.

Abstract:
Colloidal dispersions are commonly encountered in everyday life and represent an important class of complex fluid. Of particular significance for many commercial products and industrial processes is the ability to control and manipulate the macroscopic flow response of a dispersion by tuning the microscopic interactions between the constituents. An important step towards attaining this goal is the development of robust theoretical methods for predicting from first-principles the rheology and nonequilibrium microstructure of well defined model systems subject to external flow. In this review we give an overview of some promising theoretical approaches and the phenomena they seek to describe, focusing, for simplicity, on systems for which the colloidal particles interact via strongly repulsive, spherically symmetric interactions. In presenting the various theories, we will consider first low volume fraction systems, for which a number of exact results may be derived, before moving on to consider the intermediate and high volume fraction states which present both the most interesting physics and the most demanding technical challenges. In the high volume fraction regime particular emphasis will be given to the rheology of dynamically arrested states.

Abstract:
Previously, we have proposed a direct simulation scheme for colloidal dispersions in a Newtonian solvent [Phys.Rev.E 71,036707 (2005)]. An improved formulation called the ``Smoothed Profile (SP) method'' is presented here in which simultaneous time-marching is used for the host fluid and colloids. The SP method is a direct numerical simulation of particulate flows and provides a coupling scheme between the continuum fluid dynamics and rigid-body dynamics through utilization of a smoothed profile for the colloidal particles. Moreover, the improved formulation includes an extension to incorporate multi-component fluids, allowing systems such as charged colloids in electrolyte solutions to be studied. The dynamics of the colloidal dispersions are solved with the same computational cost as required for solving non-particulate flows. Numerical results which assess the hydrodynamic interactions of colloidal dispersions are presented to validate the SP method. The SP method is not restricted to particular constitutive models of the host fluids and can hence be applied to colloidal dispersions in complex fluids.

Abstract:
Progress in the research area of colloidal dispersions in external fields within the last years is reviewed. Colloidal dispersions play a pivotal role as model systems for phase transitions in classical statistical mechanics. In recent years the leading role of colloids to realize model systems has become evident not only for equilibrium situations but also far away from equilibrium. By using external fields (such as shear flow, electric, magnetic or laseroptical fields as well as confinement), a colloidal suspension can be brought into nonequilibrium in a controlled way. Various kinds of equilibrium and nonequilibrium phenomena explored by colloidal dispersions are described providing also a guide and summary to this special issue. Particular emphasis is put on the comparison of real-space experiments, computer simulations and statistical theories.

Abstract:
A Landau theory is presented for the structural transition of electrically stabilized colloidal crystals under shear. The model suggests that a structural transition from an ordered layered colloidal crystal into a disordered structure occurs at a critical shear stress. The shear induced structural transition is related to a change of the rheological properties caused by the variation of the microstructure which can be verified by scattering experiments. The theory is used to establish the shape of the flow curves. A good qualitative agreement with experimental results can be achieved, while a scaling relation similar to the elastic scaling is established. 1. Introduction The rheology of suspensions containing small solid particles continues to generate great interest not merely because of its relevance to many industrial processes but also because of the theoretical understanding of many-particle systems. Here we want to focus on shear induced transitions in a subclass of suspensions, those with uniform spherical particles carrying an electric charge. In these suspensions the electrostatic interaction is responsible for the creation of long-range periodic crystal structures in equilibrium. They occur as body-centered-cubic (bcc) colloidal lattices for small particles at low ionic strengths or as face-centered-cubic (fcc) lattices for larger particles and higher ionic strengths [1–3]. A large number of rheological investigations have been carried out on model systems of electrically stabilized colloidal suspensions. Experimental techniques allow varying the particle interaction over a wide range by altering the particle size, the volume fraction, the surface charge, and the electrolyte concentration (e.g., [4–9]). The application of numerical simulations (e.g., [10–13]). The simultaneous investigation of the rheological properties and the microstructure by scattering techniques revealed a connection between the microstructure and the flow properties of concentrated colloidal dispersions (e.g., [4, 14–20]). Hoffman [4] first demonstrated that electrically stabilized colloidal suspensions undergo an order-disorder transition accompanied by shear thickening. This microstructural transition can be understood as a disturbance of the balance between stabilizing forces due to the mutual repulsion of the colloidal particles and hydrodynamic forces in a sheared suspension [21–24]. Experimental evidence of order-disorder transitions in low density colloidal crystals induced by shear perturbations were given first by Ackerson et al. [25]. It was found that under

Abstract:
We review briefly the concept of colloidal dispersions, their general properties and some of their most important applications, as well as the basic molecular interactions that give rise to their properties in equilibrium. Similarly, we revisit Brownian motion and hydrodynamic interactions associated with the concept of viscosity of colloidal dispersion. It is argued that the use of modern research tools, such as computer simulations, allows one to predict accurately some macroscopically measurable properties by solving relatively simple models of molecular interactions for a large number of particles. Lastly, as a case study, we report the prediction of rheological properties of polymer brushes using state of the art, coarse grained computer simulations, which are in excellent agreement with experiments.

Abstract:
The rheological response, in particular the non-linear response, to oscillatory shear is experimentally investigated in colloidal glasses. The glasses are highly concentrated binary hard-sphere mixtures with relatively large size disparities. For a size ratio of 0.2, a strong reduction of the normalized elastic moduli, the yield strain and stress and, for some samples, even melting of the glass to a fluid is observed upon addition of the second species. This is attributed to the more efficient packing, as indicated by the shift of random close packing to larger total volume fractions. This leads to an increase in free volume which favours cage deformations and hence a loosening of the cage. Cage deformations are also favoured by the structural heterogeneity introduced by the second species. For a limited parameter range, we furthermore found indications of two-step yielding, as has been reported previously for attractive glasses. In samples containing spheres with more comparable sizes, namely a size ratio of 0.38, the cage seems less distorted and structural heterogeneities on larger length scales seem to become important. The limited structural changes are reflected in only a small reduction of the moduli, yield strain and stress.

Abstract:
Since the early observation of nematic phases of disc-like clay colloids by Langmuir in 1938, the phase behaviour of such systems has resisted theoretical understanding. The main reason is that there is no satisfactory generalization for charged discs of the isotropic DLVO potential describing the effective interactions between a pair of spherical colloids in an electrolyte. In this contribution, we show how to construct such a pair potential, incorporating approximately both the non-linear effects of counter-ion condensation (charge renormalization) and the anisotropy of the charged platelets. The consequences on the phase behaviour of Laponite dispersions (thin discs of 30 nm diameter and 1 nm thickness) are discussed, and investigation into the mesostructure via Monte Carlo simulations are presented.

Abstract:
In directionally-dried colloidal dispersions regular bands can appear behind the drying front, inclined at $\pm45^\circ$ to the drying line. Although these features have been noted to share visual similarities to shear bands in metal, no physical mechanism for their formation has ever been suggested, until very recently. Here, through microscopy of silica and polystyrene dispersions, dried in Hele-Shaw cells, we demonstrate that the bands are indeed associated with local shear strains. We further show how the bands form, that they scale with the thickness of the drying layer, and that they are eliminated by the addition of salt to the drying dispersions. Finally, we reveal the origins of these bands in the compressive forces associated with drying, and show how they affect the optical properties (birefringence) of colloidal films and coatings.

Abstract:
The Planer-Smoluchowski Soft Matter (PSSM) Workshop on Liquid Crystals and Colloidal Dispersions was held on June 22, 2009 in historic city of Lviv in Ukraine.