Control of Colloid Stability through Zeta Potential

With a closing chapter on its relationship to cardiovascular disease


Thomas M. Riddick

Consulting Engineer and Chemist, Thomas M. Riddick and Associates,
New York, New York — and Technical Director

Copyright ©   1968 by Thomas M. Riddick

Library of Congress Catalogue Number 67–18001

All rights reserved. Permission to reproduce material from the book
must be obtained from Zeta-Meter Inc.

This book may be obtained from   ZETA-METER INC.

The owner of the copyright, Zeta-Meter Inc.,
Has informed me that this book is not currently in print.
They will have copies made for you by Minuteman Press.
You can send a check for $50.00 to ...

Zeta-Meter Inc.
765 Middlebrook Ave.   P.O. Box 3008
Staunton, VA   24401

Include a little note and your UPS or postal address — your choice.
The copy is in a 3 ring binder and will be shipped UPS or Priority Mail in the USA.
??? ???

Published for ZETA–METER, INC.
by Livingston Publishing Company, Wynnewood, Pennsylvania

Permission has been granted to Dr. T.C. McDaniel to republish parts of this book in support of his "Healing Work" using Zeta Potential.

Thomas Riddick's chapter on Dynamic Systems is often quoted by Dr. T.C. McDaniel.

This is a Summary of this book, which was compiled and submitted by Frank Hartman, who also has permission to reprint parts of this book in support of his work.

This copy was obtained at the University of Minnesota Chemistry Library, through the "Inter–Library Loan Program".

Attention   —  Background Knowledge Required
before continuing with Thomas Riddick's book on Zeta Potential !!!
  If you seriously want to understand  Zeta Potential  and the "Double Layer",

  you must first have an understanding of Osmosis.

Before the advent of computers, the subject was extremely hard to explain.

The subject can only truly be understood in dynamic terms.   This link to   "Lab Books" @, solves most of the problems in making a good presentation by using interactive computer animations. These animations run well on slower machines.

You should start a copy now. It will open in a new window and you can then click on Osmosis. You can then read the short intro and instructions, and start the animation. If you are a serious student, you may want to run some of them for 30 min. or more. These wonderful pages work "off line" also.

"  Lab Books — Diffusion, Osmosis, and The Nerst Equation  "
Dr. Joe Patlak — University of Vermont
Dr. Chris Watters — Middlebury College

Also see ...         WATER  —  The Most Universal Solvent Known !  
It is necessary to understand the "Physical Chemistry of Water" to Understand Zeta Potential.

Understanding Osmosis and the Physical Chemistry of water, still doesn't quite provide you with all the tools that you need to understand Zeta Potential.

Zeta Potential is expressed in terms of a voltage and there are two little guys in the Atomic World that are in CHARGE of that energy force.

The Electron and the Positron.   The Positron normally lives a virtual existence inside the proton in the atom's nucleus. We call the electric tension of the electron, "Negative" and the tension charge of the positron we call "Positive".

Unfortunately, we also talk about an atom's "Valance Possibilities" in terms of positive and negative energies. This is not correct and produces much confusion in the understanding of chemical bonds and Zeta Potential.

What we call "Chemical Bonds" are actually a special Symbiotic Arrangement between atoms that are on a quest for "Dynamic Stability"!

Usually, all the atoms in the arrangement are electrically in balance. They both have an equal number of positrons and electrons. What aren't in balance are the atom's electron orbitals.

The "Universal Atomic Template" has a definite preference for the order and way that electrons are put in orbit around the atom's nucleus. The atom's ultimate goal is to have two electrons, with complementary spins, in each orbital level, but the "Atomic Template" has different criteria for filling the atom's orbits.

It just doesn't go — 1,2 – 1,2 – 1,2 ... — when filling orbitals. The orbits are filled with respect to the amount of momentum that is required to keep the electrons in their different orbits.

This means that it is possible for an atom to have 2 – 3 – 4 ...   orbits with only one electron in them. The laws of inertia apply between the atom's nucleus and the orbiting electrons and this mechanical imbalance causes the atomic system to wobble or vibrate. Chemical bonds allow atoms to share electrons thereby reducing vibration and increasing stability.

It is quite possible for the "Mechanically Balancing Electron" to come from an outside source, or an electron can be totally removed from the atom's system with an outside source of energy. When this happens we have created an "Ion".   Ions can transport an electric current through a medium.

These electrical interplays are happening so fast, and with such randomness, that it is hard to picture them in an environment as dynamic as water.

Our understanding of Zeta Potential can be refined by observing some of these electrical effects in a more static structure, such as the crystal lattices that we create for our "Solid State Devices".   This simple, unencumbered explanation of electron movement in solid–state materials, can be generalized into the world of Zeta Potential.

Today, we use "Laser Doppler Diode Instruments" and our fast computers, to accurately and precisely measure the "Drift Velocity" of the colloid or cell when placed within an electric field of known voltage.

This drift velocity is then expressed as a " VOLTAGE " that relates to the total electric effect of all the electrons traveling in their unique orbits. All this buzzing around that all these electrons do, produces a "Negative Electric Field" around the atomic system. This virtual space is called "The Electron Cloud" or "Virtual Electron Shell".

The "Virtual Electric Barrier" that this activity produces, is what creates Mother Nature's "Atomic Anti–Collision System". I like to call it "Mother Nature's Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers".

The Anti–Collision Effects that the Virtual Shell imparts, is not anything like driving into a brick wall. It is soft and gentle, but very firm, in it's influences in the atomic world.

The Anti–Collision Influence comes on very slowly, and increases logarithmically as the distance decreases linearly, thereby preventing "Hard Knocks" from happening in the atomic molecular world. The "Zeta Potential Energy" gently—firmly pushes the systems apart. This can be a problem if you actually want to link atoms together, but our primary interest Here, is to keep Blood Cells and Mineral Salts, etc. from "Clumping" [ sticking ] together and coming out of solution.

Here again, is the link for learning about   Electron Movement in Solid State Materials.


© 2001   Tommy Cichanowski


Zeta Potential / Colloidal Science Overview

"Zeta Potential"   is expressed as voltage —


Mother Nature's Atomic Anti-Collision System

Visualize: "Atomic Personal Space" - Elbow Room For Atoms and Molecules

A place where One can just hang out and be "One's-Self".


Colloidal Science:

Unveils answers and concepts, Calibrates meters, Describes new possibilities.

Have you ever wondered why those ever moving, hyperactive atoms don't just crash into each other and form a big ball? Why your hydroculture salts stay in solution sometimes and not others? Why very weak and very strong solution concentrations BOTH tend to lose salts? (precipitates i.e., settles) Why that white stuff collects on your glassware and flower vases?

Whether a quantity of clay, added to a liter of distilled water containing mineral salts, will form an adhesive mass or disperse into trillions of tiny particles, each remaining separate and discrete, depends almost entirely on the electrical properties of the system. Like electrical charges repel each other, and the strength of this Electric Force controls many of the factors of chemistry.

It is this Electric Force that keeps atoms and molecules from colliding with each other, allows them to remain discrete, and it is this "Electric Force" that needs to be overcome when you are endeavoring to hook atoms together to form new advanced materials.

Atoms are very much like miniature solar systems with their electrons in orbits similar to planets and comets. The electrons are moving so fast, that only a blur is seen by our test instruments, and this blurry area where the electrons "hang out" is called the Electron Cloud, sometimes referred to as the atom's "Virtual Electron Shell".

How these shells interact with each other can be observed with the tools used in the field of Colloidal Science. Understanding how to use these concepts, allows us to create a root environment for plants, where the nutrient salts stay in solution at the right concentration and allows us to also, measure and control the electrical properties of our blood and urine, allowing us to resolve most circulatory problems.

This Electrical Knowledge, Anionic Surfactants, and the Power of our world's most universal solvent "Pure Water", allows us to remove unwanted, harmful materials from our bodies. i.e. kidney stones, blood clots, minerals, etc.

The idea behind good health is simple. Wash out the body's toxins, and give the body enough water to fully hydrate its blood plasma so that our bodies can relax and our blood can carry food and oxygen to all of our body's cells, resulting in a more efficient vigorous body.

AGAIN — The foundation of good health lies in maintaining the proper "Hydro-Electric Properties" in our blood plasma, intra-cellular and extra-cellular fluids. These liquids provide the playing field for all the chemical reactions needed to power our bodies and must be kept in balance for good health.

An Introduction to Zeta Potential and its Measurement
A more technical discussion

" Control of Colloid Stability through ZETA POTENTIAL "

Zeta Potential is a measure of the electrical force that exists between
atoms, molecules, particles, suspensoids, cells, etc., in a fluid.

Zeta Potential represents a basic law of Nature, and it plays a vital role in all forms of plant and animal life.

It is the force that maintains the discreteness of the billions of circulating cells, which nourish the organism.

The stability of simple inorganic man–made systems is governed by these same laws. The relevance and application of these principles is the subject of this book.


Twenty–one chapters are required to develop the technical rationale of how Zeta Potential controls colloid stability. Chapter 22, written in non–technical style, relates this rationale to certain cardiovascular disorders. Thus one with no technical background may obtain a reasonably well–rounded concept of the cause, prevention and relief of heart disease by reading the following pages, in the sequence listed: 249 to 319;   332 to 356;   97 to 109;   174 to 193. A brief description of Zeta Potential is given on pages 198 to 200, and a Glossary on 358.   See also pp. 127 to 137, and 201 to 210.

This selected material, comprising about 150 pages of text and related curves, will be published separately under the title "Heart Disease — A New Approach to Prevention and Control".


A Word from the Author

In 1948, an outstanding authority on Zeta Potential stated:

"What is most needed in the present state of the theory are better experimental data to compare with the theory."

I hope that the concepts and working curves presented herein may be of value to practical workers, as well as scientists concerned principally with the theoretical aspects of Zeta Potential.

There are fundamental reasons for the existence of Zeta Potential, and they become more apparent when one approaches them from a teleological viewpoint. As one alternates between simple manmade inorganic systems and sophisticated organic natural systems, one finds that the same basic principles apply to both. Prior to Mendelyeev, much of chemistry was a jumble of "factors." His placing the then known elements in proper rows and columns brought a high degree of order out of chaos. Similarly, an orderly and proper view of Zeta Potential brings order to the vast present knowledge of practical and theoretical colloid stability. Above all, it stresses the real importance of di, tri, and polyvalent ions and their overwhelming control of coagulation when associated with the cation; or their control of dispersion when associated with the anion. These concepts are not new, having been stressed eighty–five years ago by Schulze and Hardy. They well understood these forces, but lacked the tools to adequately measure them. And, at this same time, Helmholtz was developing basic concepts of Zeta Potential — which later rationalized the experimental evidence of Schulze and Hardy.

Development of the theory of Zeta Potential and its use as a working tool has been considerably retarded by improper, inadequate techniques. At the risk of appearing dogmatic, I have consciously laid great stress upon detail procedures — particularly sample preparation. And these aspects are equally vital to the theorist and to the laboratory worker. For example, it has been confirmed that simple dilution of dispersed slurries to reduce opacity for cell electrophoresis can produce nothing but grossly erroneous data and conclusions. Therefore I feel obligated to make a detailed explanation of the techniques employed to reach the conclusions set forth herein.

Basic facets have been presented in a gradually evolving sequence — starting with dispersion of simple inorganics such as clays, and ending with complex organics such as blood. The intent is to simplify and unify the overall concept of Zeta Potential and colloid stability. It seemed expedient to omit from the main text several germane though diverting aspects in order to avoid undue interruption of sequence and thought. These are therefore presented individually in the Appendix.

It was decided to postpone discussion of basic concepts of Zeta Potential — and in particular the double layer. — until the major aspects of practical colloid behavior had, from many divergent angles, been well established. I hope the reader will find these sequences an aid to easy comprehension and ready reference.

The curves presented herein are arranged in logical sequence to develop, step by step, the role Zeta Potential plays in the control of colloid stability. Text has been held to a minimum, the graphs telling the story. Included are many types of curves: adsorption; desorption; anionic dispersion; bulk–stress — indicating; particle–charge distribution; PH–ZP; CMC; reagent concentration — Specific Conductance; bulk– stress — forcing; and coagulation.

Appropriate employment of both dilute and concentrated suspensions is sufficiently detailed to enable direct application to both research and practical problems encountered in industrial colloid systems. Also discussed are nonionic systems where stability is attained through steric hindrance.

It has long been known that colloidal stability is due to adsorption. But it has not been properly recognized that Zeta Potential can accurately measure adsorption in liquid–solids systems of both low and high solids concentration.

Admitting the existence of "too many chemical terms in the literature," the term "bulk–stress" has been coined to categorize the several forces inherent in the liquid phase of colloid systems. If one is to properly appraise the action of an applied surfactant, these forces must be taken into full account. In reality, the action is about the same as if one added to a dialyzed colloid system a surfactant of known characteristics and amount, and then superimposed a number of extraneous, unknown and often unwanted electrolytes. Appropriate Zeta Potential curves can elucidate the nature of "bulk–stress."

The curves represent my investigation of many industrial colloid systems, and no attempt has been made to establish absolute values. However, to demonstrate basic principles, I have employed a "test colloid" ( Minusil ) in many prepared systems. Surfactants are plainly identified but, with few exceptions, industrial colloids are not. For ready comprehension, curves and their pertinent text have been grouped, wherever possible, on the same or opposite pages — despite some "imbalance" of text.

Since highly valuable information can be gained by viewing the colloid, this subject, as well as photomicrography, is treated in some detail before discussing the means of controlling colloid stability.

Certain concepts, as well as technical procedures, have intentionally been repeated for emphasis. Upon occasion it has been necessary to make abrupt changes in subject matter to demonstrate that Zeta Potential is a basic law of Nature, which functionally controls the stability of its aqueous systems. The most vital are blood and urine, which are too complex for direct analytical approach. Before application to complex systems, the basic principles of Zeta Potential must be progressively developed by graduated, detailed procedures with systems of increasing complexity starting with silica, clay, carbon, latex, milk, albumin and then blood.

This book deals principally with the stability of industrial colloid systems, but there emerge many appropriate leads into such physiological systems as blood.

As a result of the very nature of my continued work with colloids and suspensoids in liquid systems, gradually there developed a number of sophisticated and completely related aspects concerning blood, body fluids, etc., which I feel should be mentioned and, upon occasion, stressed.

But I must emphasize that all opinions expressed or implied concerning blood or other body fluids, are based entirely upon concepts of physical chemistry and Zeta Potential, and not upon physiology or other disciplines conventionally related to and under the professional purview of medical practice.

Significantly, I have found that the professional physical chemist possesses a far greater comprehension of my work than most members of the medical profession. I can understand this. There are exceptions, however. I have come in contact with a few medical doctors whose discipline enabled their ready comprehension of my findings — although some had no previous knowledge of Zeta Potential. I have derived much benefit from an interchange of ideas, and they seem to feel that the concepts we developed deserve a vital place in basic physiology.

Space limitations compel me to forego a resume of the historical development of Zeta Potential, and references to existing literature on the subject. However, a list of selected books from my library is appended. These contain a wealth of data on colloids, surfactants, and theory — though few deal with the practical aspects of colloid stability and Zeta Potential, which are of principal concern to me. In particular, I recommend:

Harkins' book on surface films (Ref. 5-4)

The books and / or compendiums by Kruyt, Verwey and Overbeek (Refs. 4-2, 4-3, and 4-4)

Shinoda's (and associates) treatment of surfactants (Ref. 5-22)

La Mer's (and associates) work on long–chain polymers (Ref. 6-10)

Becher's book on emulsions (Ref. 5-31)

McBain's work on soap and colloids (Ref. 5-3)

Bier's review of electrophoresis (Ref. 4-1)

Davies and Rideal's book on interfacial phenomena (Ref. 5-24)

Moilliet, Collie and W. Black's book on surface activity (Ref. 5-25)

Alexander and Johnson's old classic on colloids (Ref. 5-1)

    Excellent books and papers on the Medical — approach to blood stability and coagulation include:

    Hans Selye's books on cardiac necroses, thrombo–hemorrhagic phenomena, and stress (Refs. 11-13, 11-14, and 11-15)

    Eörs Bajusz's books on the relationships of electrolytes and nutrition to cardiovascular diseases and cardiac necroses (Refs. 11-39, 11-40, 11-41)

    Melvin Knisely's papers on intravascular coagulation (Ref. 11-16)

    Walter Seegers' books on basic blood chemistry (Ref. 11-6)

    Macfarlane (and associates) work on blood (Refs. 11-3 and 11-12)

    Krogh's work on capillaries and aqueous biological systems (Ref. 11-17 and 11-22)

    Putnam's compendium on plasma proteins (Ref. 11-1 – see vol. II, chapt. 14, by Macfarlane)

    Zucker and Marcus on platelets (Ref. 11-18)

    Johnson and Greenwalt's book on blood coagulation and transfusion (Ref. 11-19)

    Hardaway's book on intravascular coagulation (Ref. 11-20)

    McKay's book on intravascular coagulation (Ref. 11-21)

    The monographs on blood coagulation published by the Josiah Macy,

    Jr. Foundation (Ref. 11-4)

    The numerous Symposia Monographs published by the American Heart Association.

These books contain the highest caliber of explicit information, and much food for thought "between the lines." However, I believe that the physiological aspects of aqueous biological systems including blood stability — can be adequately approached only through the channels of basic colloid science. We agree with Max Planck regarding the simplicity of Nature's laws — but to be properly comprehended, each facet must be viewed separately, one at a time.

Zeta Potential has application in so many diversified fields that the technical expressions of one discipline would fail to communicate to another. Therefore, I have employed only simple and explicit terms, with a minimum of technical language.


Thomas M. Riddick

New York, N. Y.
September, 1967


Thomas M. Riddick, a consulting engineer and chemist of New York City, began an intensive study ten years ago of the basic principles of colloid stability. Originally, the challenge arose from his observation of the phenomenon exhibited by a natural system: Why could certain raw waters be readily coagulated at one season of the year — but with greatest difficulty at another?

Logically, the avenues of approach were through Zeta Potential. Soon was revealed the inadequacy of the available physical means with which to make the enormous number of determinations necessary to elucidate the problem. Therefore, Mr. Riddick's immediate concern was the development of accurate instrumentation for more facile determination of electrophoretic mobility — from which Zeta Potential values stem. The result was a new design of electrophoresis cell, and a new method of illumination for viewing and tracking the colloid.

He solved this basic coagulation problem in the laboratory and proved his point by successfully incorporating his findings into the design of municipal water treatment plants at Waterford and Gouverneur, New York — the first ever to operate solely on a basis of Zeta Potential control. This development was immediately reported by an editor of Chemical Week magazine, who saw further application of Zeta Potential to industrial colloid systems. Numerous inquiries regarding availability of the instrumentation followed, from industrial and educational organizations here and abroad. As a result of this interest, the name "ZETA-METER" was decided upon, and a manufacturing and marketing organization "Zeta-Meter, Inc." formed.

As his research advanced to such complex systems as blood, a number of workers in Zeta Potential urged Mr. Riddick to publish a book which would report his findings and outline his techniques. But there arose the question whether a publisher might not feel that the interests of the industrial colloid worker and those concerned with blood stability were so divergent as to render impractical the inclusion of both phases in one volume. Therefore, Zeta–Meter, Inc. decided to publish the book independently. This would avoid possible controversy with a chemical publisher who might have no technical interest in blood stability; or a medical publisher who might not agree with the emphasis placed on the industrial phases of Mr. Riddick's work.

Mr. Riddick has worked with many qualified scientists in the field of industrial colloids. As the scope of his work broadened to include one of the most sophisticated of all systems — human blood — several physicians and surgeons collaborated with him. His basic concepts were applied to treatment of certain cardiovascular disorders, with revealing and gratifying results.

Mr. Riddick believes that technicians in one field can learn much from the problems of another. He believes that blood coagulation cannot be elucidated without first establishing the basic principles of stability which control simple systems that do not naturally coagulate. He felt that first it was necessary to develop the basic principles of stability in liquid–solids systems of high solids concentration — a subject on which both Langmuir and Harkins put forth much effort. Realistically, industrial and less complex natural systems form a logical pathway to comprehension of blood stability.

Moreover, the techniques described and the many working curves presented herein provide a trove of knowledge and an excellent group of exercises for those commencing active work with Zeta Potential — whether the area be commercial latex or sophisticated medical pathology.

This book is intended principally for workers who deal intimately with practical aspects of colloid systems. It is hoped that it will present some useful new facets of colloid stability and their relationships to Zeta Potential.

Joseph T. Sherman

1720 First Avenue
New York, N. Y. 10028


Zeta Potential at Work

The larger the negative voltage value of ZP, the more dispersing power it has.
[ ... the more solute the solvent can carry in solution / suspension. ]

Fig 3 --- Zeta Potential at Work 
Photomicrograph of colloid systems

Fig. 4 --- Zeta Potential at Work 

Photomicrograph of colloid systems

Fig. 5 --- Zeta Potential at Work 

Photomicrograph of colloid systems

Can you see this happening inside our bodies?
[ A low Zeta Potential will cause blood cells to clump together. ]

After grasping the Zeta concept and seeing the above photos, Dr. T.C. McDaniel was inspired by the possible application of this knowledge. The Challenge that Dr. McDaniel faced was to find a substance that was already approved by the FDA and had the correct "negative" valance which would bring about a profound shift in the electrical properties of blood plasma — something that could do what you see above — Get substances in the blood to "breakup" and spread out; become discrete — Make their way to the kidneys and safely leave the body !

The substance needed to be effective with very small doses, and McDaniel needed to also find one with "nearly no side–effects".

As you saw from the osmosis animations, it is also, "Extremely Important" to have the total solute concentration of the blood plasma below a critical concentration.

Using Disodium EDTA as an Anionic Surfactant

The application of basic concepts of Zeta Potential to cardiovascular disease
Thomas M. Riddick's personal experiences with a cardiovascular condition.

( Sometimes you should read the last chapter of a book first. )

  Understanding Colloidal Suspensions  
A summary of this book submitted by Frank Hartman.

  Thomas M. Riddick's Chapter 14 — " Dynamic Systems "  
Static images help us understand, but we live in a Dynamic World & need to view it that way.

Thomas M. Riddick's " Dynamic Systems "–  Chapter 14 Part 2 — Asbestos – Blood
This is the part of Thomas Riddick's book that Dr. T.C. McDaniel quotes the most.

Chapter 19 — Dilatancy, Thixotropy, and the Double and Diffuse Layers

Excerpts and Important Material — Glossary

Riddick's Suggested Reference Mateial

Electrochemical Tutorials

Dr. T.C. McDaniel   — "Using Zeta Potential as a Healing Tool"

The Art of Healing Ourselves

Using Hydroponics to Understand the Earth's Life Processes
On the Atomic Level

Cleaning up with "Electric Water"

Site Link List

The Tortoise Shell  "Science of Health"  Newsletter
— Putting an End to Disease on Our Planet —

Tortoise Shell Life Science Puzzle Box – Front Page

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