Course Announcement – CHBE 487 (3) Interfacial Phenomena


Course Description

Interfacial phenomena play an important role in many consumer products and industrial processes. For example, it is possible control the chemistry and structure of surfaces in order to produce self-cleaning windows or fabrics that do not get wet. Also, the stability of food foams and emulsions, like milk or whipped cream, rely on interfacially-active molecules called emulsifi ers. On the other hand, oil sands contain small particles of sand and small droplets of water that can be very difficult to separate from the crude oil so that it can be converted into fuel.

This course will discuss the physics and chemistry of interfaces that underlay these examples as well as many others. The content of the course will follow the best selling textbook by John C. Berg: Interfaces and Colloids: The Bridge to Nanoscience. This is a required text and a copy will be placed on reserve at the library.

Students of this course will learn important concepts for both industrial jobs and academic research in areas involving emulsions, suspensions, and foams. For example, students will learn how surface tension and rheology are measured. They will also learn how to anticipate and quantify the impact of surfactants and electrolytes on a system. As a final example, students will learn about the intermolecular forces that contribute to the stability (or instability) of dispersions.

Topics Covered

  • Fluid Interfaces and Capillarity
  • Thermodynamics and Interfacial Systems
  • Solid-Liquid Interactions
  • Colloidal Systems
  • Interaction between Colloidal Particles
  • Emulsions and Foams
  • Rheology of Dispersions

Recommended Preparation

The course is designed for upper level undergraduate or graduate students in science or engineering curricula. University-level chemistry, physics and mathematics are essential. Undergraduate courses in thermodynamics and fluid mechanics would also be very helpful. Interested students who are uncertain if they meet the recommended level of preparation may contact Dr. Frostad via email (at for more information.