Catastrophic thermal destabilization of two-dimensional close-packed emulsions due to synchronous coalescence initiation†
The mechanisms for phase separation in highly concentrated emulsions when subjected to a thermal phase transition remain to be elucidated. Here, we create a hexagonally close-packed monodisperse emulsion in 2D and show that during a cool-heat cycle, the emulsion fully destabilizes akin to phase separation. The mechanism for this catastrophic destabilization is found to be spontaneous coalescence initiation that synchronously occurs between every solidified droplet and its neighbors. This synchronous coalescence initiation establishes system-wide network connectivity in the emulsion causing large-scale destabilization. This system-wide coalescence initiation is found to be insensitive to droplet size and tested surfactants, but dependent on network connectivity and crystal content of individual droplets.