The development of a net charge at the particle surface affeects the distribution of ions in the surrounding interfacial region, resulting in an increased concentration of counter ions (ions of opposite charge to that of the particle) close to the surface. Thus an electrical double layer exists around each par- ticle.
The liquid layer surrounding the particle exists as two parts; an inner region, called the Stern layer, where the ions are strongly bound and an outer, di?use, region where they are less firmly attached. Within the diffuse layer there is a notional boundary inside which the ions and particles form a stable entity. When a particle moves (e.g. due to gravity), ions within the boundary move with it, but any ions beyond the boundary do not travel with the particle. This boundary is called the surface of hydrodynamic shear or slipping plane. The potential that exists at this boundary is known as the Zeta potential