Sedimentation of a two-dimensional colloidal mixture exhibiting liquid-liquid and gas-liquid phase separation: a dynamical density functional theory study

2014-10-07T14:08:44Z (GMT) by Alexandr Malijevsky Andrew Archer
We present dynamical density functional theory results for the time evolution of the density distribution of a sedimenting model two-dimensional binary mixture of colloids. The interplay between the bulk phase behaviour of the mixture, its interfacial properties at the confining walls, and the gravitational field gives rise to a rich variety of equilibrium and non-equilibrium morphologies. In the fluid state, the system exhibits both liquid-liquid and gas-liquid phase separation. As the system sediments, the phase separation significantly affects the dynamics and we explore situations where the final state is a coexistence of up to three different phases. Solving the dynamical equations in two-dimensions, we find that in certain situations the final density profiles of the two species have a symmetry that is different from that of the external potentials, which is perhaps surprising, given the statistical mechanics origin of the theory. The paper concludes with a discussion on this.