Colloid: overview and job prospects

Suspension of insoluble particles (i.e., gas, liquid, and solid) dispersed in solvent is known as colloid; which classified as meta-stable or stable phase of material. Variation of concentration, and size of the components (solute and solvent) would yield novel micro- to nano-scale structures i.e., colloidal gas aphrons,1 lyotropic liquid crystals (see images below),2 worm-like micelle,3 and nano-emulsions.4 The small-scale structures exhibit unique properties (e.g., absorbance, refractive index, viscosity, structure of self-assembled particles, rigidity, and mechanical strength) than that of the bulk. The concentration-dependency properties of colloidal suspension could be manipulated to increase efficiency of product, and optimize the output of production; therefore would expedite deployment of colloidal materials in broad industrial applications viz., pharmaceuticals,5 healthcare,6 cosmetics,7 paint and coatings,8 filtration,9 and lubrications.10

The stated industries are considered as fast-growing industries which have boost the growth of chemicals subsector of colloid-related manufacturing industry averagely 3.4% per annum (increase in value added of RM3 billion within 3 years);11 have provided 348,000 new job opportunities inclusive of managerial, technical, supervisory, and skilled manpower in 2015. Furthermore, performance of the sector would be supported by market demand from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Free Trade Agreement partners; therefore increasing recruitment of knowledge-based workers is expected.

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Some liquid crystal phases observed under optical polarizing microscope (Nikon Eclipse E200) with Nikon DSLR D5000 attachment in our laboratory.


1. P. Jauregi, G. R. Mitchell and J. Varley, AIChE Journal, 2000, 46, 24-36.

2. K. Hiltrop, in Liquid Crystals, eds. H. Stegemeyer and H. Behret, Steinkopff, Heidelberg, 1994, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-662-08393-2_4, pp. 143-171.

3. J.-F. Berret, in Molecular Gels: Materials with Self-Assembled Fibrillar Networks, eds. R. G. Weiss and P. Terech, Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, 2006, DOI: 10.1007/1-4020-3689-2_20, pp. 667-720.

4. J. P. Fast and S. Mecozzi, in Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery, eds. M. M. de Villiers, P. Aramwit and G. S. Kwon, Springer New York, New York, NY, 2009, DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-77668-2_15, pp. 461-489.

5. T. Tadros, in Colloid and Interface Science in Pharmaceutical Research and Development, ed. K. Makino, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2014, DOI:, pp. 29-54.

6. M. C. Morán, T. Tozar, A. Simon, A. Dinache, A. Smarandache, I. R. Andrei, M. Boni, M. L. Pascu, F. Cirisano and M. Ferrari, Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 2016, 137, 91-103.

7. L. M. Katz, in Cosmetic Nanotechnology, American Chemical Society, 2007, vol. 961, ch. 11, pp. 193-200.

8. T. F. Tadros, in Colloids in Paints, Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, 2010, DOI: 10.1002/9783527631179.ch1, pp. 1-9.

9. M. Annetts, The Journal of Physical Chemistry, 1931, 36, 2936-2939.

10. R. Szymanowitz, Journal of Chemical Education, 1926, 3, 909.

11. Eleventh Malaysia Plan 2016 - 2020: Anchoring Growth on People., Percetakan Nasional Malaysia Berhad, Kuala Lumpur, 2015.