NCSU logo

Skip to Content
ChE 596I Homepage Course syllabus Calendar layout of course notes, homeworks, and exams Project topics and related literature resources List of links internet based resources

Colloid Science and Nanoscale Engineering


Classes:Wednesday, 4:00 - 6:00 PM; Friday 4:00-5:00 PM, Room C 074

Instructor:Prof. Orlin D. Velev   -   Faculty web page    Velev grop web page
Office:         C 073B, Phone: 30-314-23774, E-mail:
Office Hours: Thursday and Friday, 11 AM - 12 PM; Open door policy for other times, depending on availability

Course assistant: Raphael Michel
Office:        TC 411, Phone: 30-314- 22822, E-mail:

Brief Course Description


Brief description

The first part of this course will cover the fundamentals of colloidal interactions between surfaces, particles, surfactants and biomolecules, as well as the principles of self-assembly and particle manipulation by external fields. In the second part we will discuss applications in microfluidics, micropatterning, bioarrays, nanostructured and photonic materials.


Course Objectives

The course will teach the attendees perform the following:

       Identify the intermolecular and surface forces acting in various colloidal suspensions and nanoscale systems and be able to develop quantitative estimates of the strength and magnitude of these forces.

       Develop solutions to scientific and technological problems in colloidal and microfabricated systems by application of the theory of colloidal interactions.

       Understand the principles of colloidal and biological self-assembly, and their application, advantages and limitations in technology.

       Apprehend various light-scattering and electric-field based techniques for characterization and manipulation of colloidal nanoparticles and be able to apply them in research.

       Be familiar with the latest concepts in the microfabrication, microfluidics and nanotechnology. Be able to propose and engineer simple new devices by microfabrication and/or self-assembly.


Additional materials - lecture recordings

The electronic recordings of the lectures from the previous teaching of the course in USA will be made available to the students (on their own medium).

Textbooks and other resources

       "The Colloidal Domain: Where Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Technology Meet", D. F. Evans and H. Wennerstrom, Wiley-VCH, 1999.

       "Intermolecular and Surface Forces", J. N. Israelachvili, Academic Press, 1992.

       Selected representative papers from all science areas covered by the class will be available for download from the class web-site. The attendees are encouraged to read them as examples of the application of the class material to current research and to widen their knowledge in the area.


Optional textbooks for additional practice and information

       Web-based textbook on Interfacial Engineering by D. F. Evans and H. Wennerstrom:

       "Foundations of Colloid Science", R. J. Hunter, Oxford Univ. Press, 2001.

       "Colloidal Dispersions", W. B. Russel, D. A. Saville and W. R. Schowalter, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1989.

       "Physical Chemistry of Surfaces", A. W. Adamson and A. P. Gast, Wiley Interscience, 1997.

       "AC Electrokinetics: Colloids and Nanoparticles", H. Morgan and N. Green, Research Studies Press, 2003.



The course will include each week 2 lectures (W & F) and one discussion session (W).

Course credits: 5. Course credits for auditing students: 2.



The class will include discussion sessions on recent trends and developments in colloids and nanoscience. Each of the attendees will pick one topic for one of the discussion sessions and will prepare a 10-minute presentation on the problem and current state of the art in the field. A list of suggested (but not obligatory or exclusive) topics will be available on the class web-site. The papers available for download could be used as a starting point for preparation of the discussion. The students could use the material prepared for the discussion sessions for their final short term paper.



Homework assignment for each week will be available for download after the Friday lecture. The homeworks are due on the Friday lecture in the next week.



During the semester, there will be one "mid-term" exam based on solving quantitative problems in colloidal forces and interactions. The course will also have one final short term paper, which will be based of individual assignments including literature research, numerical estimates and simple design problems.



Mid-term exam: 30 %

Homeworks: 30 % overall

Short term paper: 40 %



       In grading the exam and the homeworks, points are awarded for:

(1) Correct formulation of the problem and the solution strategy, use or derivation of the appropriate theoretical expressions, explanation of the simplifications and limitations (if any).

(2) Use of appropriate numerical values and physical dimensions and reaching the right numerical answer.

The weight of (1) vs. (2) for grading any specific problem is determined by the instructor or the assistant depending on the theoretical complexity of the expressions and the derivations. The points for numerical results (2) are awarded strictly for obtaining the precise answers.


Final short term paper guidelines

        The goal of this assignment is to train the students in applying the material from the class in problems related to their research interests. The individual topics will be suggested by the students and finalized in discussion with the instructor.

        The students should seek out a few relevant recent papers and perform a critical review of how this material can be applied to their field of research. They are encouraged to include in the text estimates, expressions, qualitative or quantitative graphs, figures and schemes.

        Copying/repeating of material from papers or WWW can be done only with acknowledging of, or referring to, the source.

        The length of the text, including the reference list should not exceed 3 typed pages. This could be supplemented with up to 5 pages of figures and computer printouts, which however should be clearly numbered, captioned, and referred to in the text.

        The short term paper is graded for:

(1) Clear and concise description of the aim, background and suggested work.

(2) Critically evaluating a few relevant references from the recent literature.

(3) Presenting or suggesting an appropriate solution, estimation, numerical procedure or experiment.

(4) Technical quality of the text and graphical material.


Auditing students

        The auditing students should turn in solutions to at least 1/2 of all homework problems. The homeworks will not be formally graded, but they will receive feedback on whether the solutions are correct.

        The auditing students need not come to the mid-term exam.

        The auditing students should participate in the discussion classes and present on a topic.

        They are encouraged to prepare a brief final short term paper.


Statement for students with disabilities and academic integrity

We will follow the TU-Berlin policies strictly - please check the statements and links on the TU website.


© 2006-2010, O. Velev, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, NC State University