GLOSSARY: Zeta Potential

Zeta Potential is a scientific term for electrokinetic potential in colloidal systems. The significance of zeta potential is that its value can be related to the stability of colloidal dispersions (e.g., a multivitamin syrup). The zeta potential indicates the degree of repulsion between adjacent, similarly charged particles (the vitamins) in dispersion. For molecules and particles that are small enough, a high zeta potential will confer stability, i.e., the solution or dispersion will resist aggregation. When the potential is low, attraction exceeds repulsion and the dispersion will break and flocculate. So, colloids with high zeta potential (negative or positive) are electrically stabilized while colloids with low zeta potentials tend to coagulate or flocculate.

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