DYNAMICS OF SPONTANEOUS EMULSIFICATION

R GRANEK, RC BALL, ME CATES

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We present a model for spontaneous emulsification resulting from a transiently
negative interfacial tension between water and oil regions, which may be achieved under conditions of strong adsorption of surfactant molecules to the interface. While our approach builds
on a linear stability analysis, it addresses the essential non-linear coupling of surface growth to
the diffusion flux of surfactants to the interface. We consider a large drop of oil of radius R
embedded in a dilute surfactant solution and predict that undulations develop with a characteristic wavelength I*, which at long times t obeys I* ~w t~/~- This suggests that the size of
the droplets created spontaneously at the interface scales as f(/~, where to is a diffusion length
which is comparable to R under steady state diffusion conditions. We discuss the regimes of
applicability of our results to various experimental systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829-849
JournalJournal de Physique II
Volume3
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1993

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