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Issue 35, 2016
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Repulsive van der Waals forces enable Pickering emulsions with non-touching colloids

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Abstract

Emulsions stabilized by solid particles, called Pickering emulsions, offer promising applications in drug delivery, cosmetics, food science and the manufacturing of porous materials. This potential stems from their high stability against coalescence and ‘surfactant-free’ nature. Generally, Pickering emulsions require that the solid particles are wetted by both phases and as a result, the adsorption free energy is often large with respect to the thermal energy (kBT). Here we provide the first experimental proof for an alternative scenario: non-touching (effectively non-wetting), charged, particles that are completely immersed in the oil phase through a balance of charge induced attractions and repulsions caused by van der Waals forces. These particles nonetheless stabilize the emulsion. The main advantage of this novel adsorption mechanism is that these particles can easily be detached from the interface simply by adding salt. This not only makes the finding fundamentally of interest, but also enables a triggered de-emulsification and particle recovery, which is useful in fields like enhanced oil recovery, heterogeneous catalysis, and emulsion polymerization.

Graphical abstract: Repulsive van der Waals forces enable Pickering emulsions with non-touching colloids

  • This article is part of the themed collection: Colloids
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Publication details

The article was received on 05 Jun 2016, accepted on 24 Jun 2016 and first published on 04 Jul 2016


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C6SM01294A
Citation: Soft Matter, 2016,12, 7265-7272
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
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    Repulsive van der Waals forces enable Pickering emulsions with non-touching colloids

    N. A. Elbers, J. E. S. van der Hoeven, D. A. M. de Winter, C. T. W. M. Schneijdenberg, M. N. van der Linden, L. Filion and A. van Blaaderen, Soft Matter, 2016, 12, 7265
    DOI: 10.1039/C6SM01294A

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