Physical Nature of Surfaces (and Interfaces)


BIOEN 7160 (3 credit hours), Spring Semester 2018


Time/Place:TH 12:25 - 1:45 pm, HSEB 4100A


Instructor:      V. Hlady, Professor of Bioengineering

e-mail:    (preferred means of communication)


Office: 108A BPRB, phone: 581-5042

Office hours: Thursday after lecture 1:45 - 2:45 pm, or by appointment


Help - Grader: TBA


Prerequisite: A physical chemistry course, or consent of the instructor (here is some remedial material)


Textbook (also on reserve desk):

Butt, Hans-Jurgen, Graf, Karlheinz, and Kappl, Michael, "Physics and Chemistry of Interfaces," 3rd ed. ISBN 978-3-527-41216-7, Wiley-VCH, Berlin, 2013 (very strongly recommended, available on HJB) (2nd edition is acceptable).

• Jacob N. Israelachvili, "Intermolecular and Surface Forces," 3rd ed. Academic Press, 2011 (recommended) (abbr: JNI)

• Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Francoise Brochart-Wyart, David Quere."Capillarity and Wetting Phenomena," Spinger 2005 (translation from French, excellent but limited in scope to wetting phenomena) (abbr: PGdG)

• Johannes Lyklema, "Fundamentals of Interface and Colloid Science, Vol. 1 - 5." Academic Press, (useful as reference monographs, extensive coverage, but expensive) (abbr: JLvX)

• Handouts will be available for download from:
• The course notes follow the textbook; with additional material included as indicated.


Grading (%):    

Midterm Tests I and II (in class, tentatively scheduled on Thursdays in Weeks 7 and 12) (20% + 20%),
Final Exam (2 hr., during final exam week) (30%),

Homeworks (10%)

Surface Science Paper (15%) (link to a typical surface science paper) (here are some suggestions for the paper topics),

Seminar reports (5%) (attendance of minimum 4 seminars in the field of surface and colloid science is required. In the case that there are no suitable seminars here is seminar substitution rule and some examples).


Schedule of lectures:

Week 1 (1/9) - I. Introduction; Liquid Surfaces

Reading Assignments: Ch. 2 HJB, Capillary rise paper

Handout: Surface curvature, Some solved problems

Week 2 (1/16) - II. Thermodynamics of Interfaces

Reading Assignments: Ch. 3 HJB,


Handout: Remedial thermodynamics

Week 3 (1/23) - III. The Electric Double Layer

Reading Assignments: Ch. 4 HJB, remedial chapter on electrostatics

Homework #1 solutions

Handout: Hyperbolic Functions

Week 4 (1/30) – IV. Effects at Charged Surfaces, Electrokinetics

Reading Assignments: Ch. 4 HJB


Handout: Extras on defintion of potentials, Some solved problems

Week 5 (2/6) – V. Technical lecture I: Electrophoresis and streaming potential; Van der Waals interactions;

Reading Assignments: Ch. 4.8; 5.1-2. HJB

Homework #2 solutions

Handout: Gecko adhesion

Week 6 (2/13) – VI. Surface Forces

Reading Assignments: Ch. 5 HJB

Handout: Excess Polarizabilities, Water on ice paper

Week 7 (2/20) – VII. Derjagiun approx; DLVO Theory; MIDTERM I

Reading Assignments: Ch. 5 HJB

Handout: Some solved problems for Week 7.

Solutions to the 1st MIDTERM

Week 8 (2/27) – VIII. Contact angle, Wetting and Applications;

Reading Assignments: Ch. 6 HJB


Handout: How to carry out Zisman plot experiment and analysis

Week 9 (3/6) – IX. Real Surfaces; Technical lecture II: XPS (ESCA);

Reading Assignments: Ch. 7 HJB


Week 10 (3/13) – X. Adsorption (Langmuir, BET and other models),

Reading Assignments: Ch. 8 HJB

Homework #3 solution


Week 11 (3/20) – Spring Break

Reading Assignments: Ch. 1 - 8 HJB


Week 12 (3/27) – Surface Modifications; Protein Immobilization; MIDTERM II (topics);

Reading Assignments: Ch. 9 HJB


Solutions to the 2nd MIDTERM

Week 13 (4/3) – Macromolecular Adsorption, Protein Adsorption and Mass Transport Effects

Reading Assignments: Polymer Adsorption review, Interpreting SPR kinetics,


Week 14 (4/10) – Surfactants, Micelles, Emulsions and Foams

Reading Assignments: Ch. 11 HJB

Homework #4


Week 15 (4/17) – XIV. Thin Film, Adhesion, Friction and Lubrication

Reading Assignments: Ch. 5, 8, 10 & 12 HJB

Homework #4 solution


Week 16 (4/24) – Presentations and recitations

FINAL EXAM (May 2nd, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm), Final exam solutions

Here is some small print:

General Policy:  All examinations and assignments must be completed in accordance with the University of Utah Student Code.  Materials disclosed to the instructor for evaluation must be the original work of the student.  Use of material (such as equations, text or graphics) from the web or any other source without proper citation will be considered academic dishonesty. 

Homework Policy:  Four homework assignments will be required.  Each homework will be posted on-line on Tuesdays and will be due one week later before class time. Students are expected to have working knowledge of a mathematical package such as Mathematica, Maple, Matlab or IgorPro and to complete their homework assignments using computer.  Presentation in addition to technical content will constitute part of the grade. Late homework generally will not be accepted since solutions will be posted shortly after the due date/time.