On the stability of foams made with surfactant bilayer phases
The stability of foams made with sponge phases (L3 phases) and lamellar phases (Lα phases), both containing surfactant bilayers, has been investigated. The extreme stability of foams made with lamellar phases seems essentially due to the high viscosity of the foaming solution, which slows down gravity drainage. Moreover, the foams start draining only when the buoyancy stress overcomes the yield stress of the Lα phase. The bubble growth associated with gas transfer is unusual: it follows a power law with an exponent smaller than those corresponding to Ostwald ripening (wet foams) and to coarsening (dry foams). The foams made with sponge phases are in turn very unstable, even less stable than pure surfactant foams made with glycerol solutions having the same viscosity. The fact that the surfactant bilayers in the sponge phase have a negative Gaussian curvature could facilitate bubble coalescence.