Steady-state droplet size in montmorillonite stabilised emulsions†
The formation of hexadecane-in-water emulsions stabilised by montmorillonite platelets was studied. In this system the platelets form a monolayer around the droplets and the droplet size decreases with increasing platelet volume fraction. However, the number of platelets present exceeds that required for monolayer coverage. The kinetics of emulsification were investigated and coalescence of droplets during turbulent mixing was found to continue even after the droplets had reached their ultimate size. Non-spherical droplets, resulting from arrested coalescence, were not observed suggesting that particles may be desorbing from the interface during the turbulent flow. A kinetic model based on a competition between droplet break-up and coalescence, mediated by particle adsorption and desorption, reproduces experimental trends in droplet diameter. The model can be used to predict the most efficient formulation to minimise droplet diameters for given materials and mixing conditions and sheds light on the processes occurring during emulsification in this system.