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Discussion on Hamaker Constant

By Stephen Beaudoin1, Ravi Jaiswal1, Caitlin Kilroy1

1. Purdue University

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The Hamaker constant is a force constant used for describing the van der Waals (vdW) force. The magnitude of the Hamaker constant reflects the strength of the vdW force between two particles, or between a particle and a substrate. It depends on the material properties of both the interacting bodies and the intervening media. More accurate calculations of Hamaker constants require a knowledge of the dielectric and optical properties of the interacting materials over the entire frequency range in the electromagnetic spectrum. In general, this information s not readily accessible.

Beaudoin et. al.’s approach to determining Hamaker constants is based on the measurement of the adhesion forces (F) between two interacting bodies (e.g. particle- particle, or particle- substrate) over a range of separation distance (d). This information is measured using atom force microscopy (AFM). When the separation distance is smaller than 15nm, the vdW force is the most dominant force. The measured force curve in this region (d<15nm) is used to fit our model’s force-distance predictions in order to determine the Hamaker constant.



Stephen Beaudoin, Ravi Jaiswal, Sean Eichenlaub and Caitlin Kilroy


Intel Corp.
Eco Snow- A division of BOC


1)Hamaker, H.C., Physica 4, 1058 (1937).
2)Eichenlaub, S., C. Chan, and S.P. Beaudoin, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 2002. 248(2): p. 389-397.

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  • Stephen Beaudoin; Ravi Jaiswal; Caitlin Kilroy (2008), "Discussion on Hamaker Constant,"

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