Vol. 1 No. 2 (2017)
Feature Articles

Interfacial Potentials: Measuring the Immeasurable?

Johannes Lyklema
Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter, Wageningen University, Stippeneng 4, 6708 WE Wageningen, The Netherlands

Published 2017-10-06


  • interfacial potential,
  • surface potential,
  • zeta potential,
  • colloid interaction,
  • electrokinetic slip

How to Cite

Lyklema, J. (2017). Interfacial Potentials: Measuring the Immeasurable?. Substantia, 1(2). https://doi.org/10.13128/Substantia-28


The scientific background of measuring and interpreting potentials at interfaces is discussed in a historical setting. Various types of potentials have to be distinguished. Some are measurable, others not. Static and dynamic aspects will be covered and, as applications, the interaction between electric double layers and the slip process in electrokinetics will be considered. In several cases it is expedient to interpret results in terms of charges rather than in terms of potentials.