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Dynamical heterogeneities close to a colloidal gel

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2813-2822
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of Chemical Physics
Volume121
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2004

Abstract

Dynamical heterogeneities in a colloidal fluid close to gelation are studied by means of computer simulations. A clear distinction between some fast particles and the rest, slow ones, is observed yielding a picture of the gel composed of two populations with different mobilities. Analyzing the statics and dynamics of both sets of particles, it is shown that the slow particles form a network of stuck particles, whereas the fast ones are able to move over long distances. Correlation functions show that the environment of the fast particles relaxes much faster than that of the slow ones, but at short times the bonds between fast particles are longer lived due to the flexibility of their structure. No stringlike motion is observed for the fast particles, but they occupy preferential sites in the surface of the structure formed by the slow ones. (C) 2004 American Institute of Physics.

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