Probing Surface Charge Densities of Common Dielectrics

  • Abdulmalik Alghonaim

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The value of the surface charge density of polypropylene reported in literature has a three order of magnitude discrepancy. Nauruzbayeva et al report a 0.7nCcm−2 as the surface charge density of polypropylene as measured using the charge of electrified droplets[1]. Meagher and Craig reported result 111nCcm−2 as estimated by electric double layer theory from colloidal probe Atomic force microscopy (AFM) force spectroscopy [2]. We show that oxidation of hydrophobic surfaces as a potential mechanism in origin of these surface charges. Using colloidal probe AFM We measured the surface charge densities of Teflon AF, perfluorodecanethiol, Perfluorodecyltrichlorosilane(FDTS), Octadecyltrichlorosilane, polystyrene, and polypropylene. Also, The pH dependence of the surface charge density for FDTS was studied and it shows the behavior expected of a weak acid in response to pH. We suspect that the origin of the surface charges is mostly likely impurities or surface oxidation. We conclude that the electrometer and dispensed droplets approach cannot detect these charges because of the process of de-wetting all the surface be neutralized to maintain charge neutrality. This explanation supports Nauruzbayeva et al claims about surface bound charges[1].
Date of AwardJul 2023
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorHimanshu Mishra (Supervisor)


  • hydrophobic surface
  • surface charge density
  • electrification
  • Atomic force microscopy

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