Effect of electric field non-uniformity on droplets coalescence
Electric field assisted coalescence is one of the most efficient methods for water-in-oil emulsion separation. In this paper, we experimentally study water droplet evolution in an oil phase under different electric field configurations. We determine that non-uniform fields can enhance the performance of electrocoalescence compared to uniform fields. The analysis indicates that the enhanced coalescence is due to the combined effects of dipole–dipole interaction between droplets and dielectrophoresis between individual droplets and the applied non-uniform field. The present study shows that a non-uniform electric field and the induced dielectrophoretic effect can accelerate the coalescence and phase separation of micro-emulsions. These results may provide useful guidance in designing an optimum electrode configuration for efficient electrocoalescence.