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What is Zeta Potential?

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Can you explain zeta potential in simple terms?

If you haven't deduced by now, my study mates and I are all Chem Engineering grads from the early 80's and sadly have forgotten much of what we academically one knew....we are all now pursuing Master's degrees and it is a struggle re-learning much of this material.

Also...we all work either in pulp & paper mills or other wood product mills as process engineers (hence many of the questions surrounding wood chemistry etc. etc.)

I am particularly interested in better understanding zeta potential. The reason I ask is that I'm trying to determine the possible electro-chemical attractive forces between the wood pulp we produce and the highly anionic phenol-formaldehyde (pH 11.2) adhesive resin we use to bond the wood fibers.

Is there a relationship between pH and zeta potential?

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According to http://www.zeta-meter.com/5min.pdf , there are indirect applications of zeta potential to your situation. Here it is in a nutshell:

The "Stern Layer" consists of positive ions that are tightly bound to the anionic surface, simply because they are close together and are electrostatically attracted to each other. Above the "Stern Layer" there is a "Diffuse Layer" of positive particles. They are in a sort of limbo, because they feel an attraction for the colloid, but also suffer a repulsion due to the positive ions in the Stern Layer. The combination of these two ...

Solution Summary

Zeta potential and its applications are explained.

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Structure and Solubility of Zinc Borate

The plant that I work at uses a zinc borate (US Borax) compound whose chemical formula is 2ZnO-3H2BO3-3.5H2O ----- essentially a hydrated mixture of zinc oxide, boric acid, and water to form the granular zinc borate.We use it as a wood preservative and must keep it in an insoluble form in our process chemistry.

My question however.....could you take a stab at what the equivalent Lewis or ionic bonding diagram for this compound might be or look like??

I ask because....when we add zinc borate to our predominantly acidic process chemistry (pH 4.0 to 4.1), we see very different solubilities with respect to the zinc and boron fractions of this compound....with the boron being at least 33% to 50% more soluble than Zn.....I'm trying to figure out why and looking at a bonding or Lewis diagram sometimes helps me do that. I just don't know what this one would look like.

Also....is there any way to empirically determine this compounds electro-negativity or zeta potential??

Many thanks

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