There is currently significant interest in particle-stabilized emulsions for a variety of applications and as precursors to other materials such as microcapsules or colloidosomes. A prerequisite for many applications is the ability to produce stable droplets with a well-controlled size. The preparation of oil-in-water (o/w) emulsions stabilized by silica colloids has been demonstrated here using membrane emulsification techniques. Emulsions were produced using both a cross-flow membrane device and a rotating membrane reactor. Under the correct conditions, highly stable emulsions with very narrow droplet size distributions can be produced. Investigations into the effects of changing the cross-flow shear rate at a fixed droplet production rate illustrate the fine control over mean droplet size that is possible with these emulsification techniques. Evidence for the importance of particle adsorption kinetics onto growing droplets prior to detachment from the membrane surface was obtained by varying the droplet production rate under fixed shear conditions. The presence of a critical surface coverage by the stabilizing particles to prevent droplet coalescence was clearly seen. Comparison with samples produced using conventional high-shear homogenization highlights the improved control over size distribution available from these membrane techniques.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics