Kinetics in directional drying of water that contains deformable non-volatile oil droplets†
Herein, we report assessments of the kinetics in directional drying of water that contains non-volatile oil droplets, based on direct observations using a confocal microscope. The water was found to evaporate at a constant rate during the initial stage of drying, after which the evaporation rate decreased. The dispersed oil droplets were compressed and distorted as the surrounding water was lost. Further evaporation of water resulted in coalescence of the oil droplets, with the eventual formation of an oil layer at the drying interface. However, it was apparent that the drying rate decreased even before the formation of this oil layer. We propose that the restricted transport of water via the narrow paths between the distorted oil droplets was responsible for the decreased drying rate. A mathematical model based on foam drainage theory is proposed and describes the experimental data very well. This work also determined that the critical disjoining pressure for the oil droplets is affected by the drying rate, such that higher pressure values are associated with slow drying conditions. The drying kinetics and stability of the dispersed oil droplets are discussed.