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CK204V Surfaces, Colloids and Soft Matter 5.0 credits

The course is online with a series of pre-recorded lectures, with periodic zoom "tutorials". We will address a broad range of surface and colloidal principles and see how these are applied, for example in cosmetics, recycling, detergency, food technology and pharmaceuticals. Some of the sustainability issues we face in this discipline and their solutions form a continuous theme. We will discuss the surface science of nature – how nature solves such challenges as water harvesting by beetles in the desert, how geckos stick to the ceiling and the lotus leaf effect.

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Choose semester and course offering to see current information and more about the course, such as course syllabus, study period, and application information.


For course offering

Autumn 2024 Start 28 Oct 2024 single courses students

Application code


Headings with content from the Course syllabus CK204V (Autumn 2023–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

  • Principles of Surface and Colloid Science
  • Thermodynamics of surface tension, adsorption and interacting surfaces, as well as the relevant experimental approaches.
  • Capillarity
  • Electrostatics of interfaces and titration of surface charge
  • Electrokinetic phenomena
  • Surface forces: double layer forces, van der Waals forces, steric forces, hydration forces and colloidal stability
  • Stablising dispersions
  • Adhesion
  • Wetting, including superhydrophobicity.
  • Applications of surface chemistry, with focus on paper industry, flotation and cleaning
  • Adsorption:  From gases and liquids, including polymers, polyelectrolytes and the formation of polyelectrolyte complexes.  Solution behaviour of polyectrolytes.
  • Surface modification
  • Surfcatant properties and association to micelles, vesicles, liquid crystals and biomembranes.
  • Emulsions, microemulsions and foams.
  • Gels

Intended learning outcomes

After completing the course, a student should be able to:

  • Explain aspects of surface, colloid and soft matter chemistry.
  • Apply surface and colloid science on interfacial phenomena.
  • Communicate and present surface and colloid science.

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Equivalent knowledge to a bachelors degree, minor or major, in chemistry, chemical engineering, or material science. and English corresponding to English B/6.

Recommended prerequisites

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Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

P, F


  • INL1 - Assignment, 2.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • RAP1 - Report, 3.0 credits, grading scale: P, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course room in Canvas

Registered students find further information about the implementation of the course in the course room in Canvas. A link to the course room can be found under the tab Studies in the Personal menu at the start of the course.

Offered by

Main field of study

Chemical Science and Engineering

Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

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Supplementary information

Overlaps with the course KD2350 Surfaces, Colloids and Soft Matter 7.5 credits