A first order-based model for the kinetics of formation of Pickering emulsions

Yotam Stern, Rafael Tadmor, Victor Multanen, Guy Oren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Motivation and background: Many physical systems are composed of two immiscible fluids containing solid particles whose role is to emulsify the two fluids. Such emulsions are called Pickering emulsions (PE). The present study introduces a theoretical framework for a first order kinetics of the creation of such emulsions and continues to verify the model experimentally using water and oil where water is the majority, or continuous, phase and oil is the minority, or dispersed, phase. These are referred to as O/W emulsions. The motivation for choosing this O/W system is to study the applicability of Pickering emulsions in marine environment and the role these emulsions can play in the cleaning of oil spills. As opposed to the use of surfactants which may be toxic to wildlife, the solid particles used to stabilize PEs are generally non-toxic. Theoretical and experimental methods are employed, as outlined below: Theoretical model: A theoretical model based on first order kinetics is constructed. Unlike classic first order kinetics, our reaction is not chemical nor is it of 1:1 stoichiometry, but its time dependence is similar to that of first order. This behavior is a function of various system-specific parameters such as the energies of the different interfaces in the system, the solid particles’ size, the densities of the components of the system, and the rate at which the system is agitated. The rate of formation of PEs is found to be proportional to 1-e-kt, where t is the time from the moment the system's components were introduced and k is a constant whose proportionality we describe analytically as a function of the various parameters in the system. Experimental findings: Our experimental results show exceptionally good agreement with the model, and it is shown that for the specific system tested (water, sand, light fraction petroleum), we get full emulsification of the 100ml system with 5 ml petroleum and 50 g sand within about 30s. This result is encouraging for studies that consider the use of such a system for the cleaning of oil spills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-416
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Biomaterials
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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