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Properties of Emulsions and Foams


Properties of emulsions
Type Size Volume fraction

Destabilization of emulsions
Creaming Flocculation Coalescence


A fine dispersion of one liquid in a second, largely immiscible liquid. In foods the liquids are inevitably oil and an aqueous solution.

Types of Emulsion
Water Oil

Oil-in-water emulsion

Water-in-oil emulsion

Multiple Emulsions
Water Oil

Water-in-oil-in-water emulsion

Oil-in-water-in-oil emulsion

Emulsion Size
< 0.5 mm 0.5-1.5 mm 1.5-3 mm >3 mm

Number Distributions
Very few large droplets contain most of the oil

< 0.5 mm 0.5-1.5 mm 1.5-3 mm >3 mm

(Volume in class Total volume measured)

35 30 Emulsion 3 25
Frequency /%

Emulsion 5

20 15 10 5 0 0.1

Large droplets often contribute most to instability

Emulsion 1

1 Diameter /mm


Note log scale

Volume Fraction
f=Total volume of the dispersed phase Total volume of the system

Close packing, fmax Monodisperse Ideal ~0.69 Random ~0.5

Polydisperse Much greater

Maximum induced flow rate /ms-1

Viscosity is the force required to achieve unit flow rate

Force /N
Force per unit area /Nm-2

Distance/ m

No slip at the wall

Shear rate /s-1

Emulsion Viscosity
Viscosity of emulsion
Dispersed phase volume fraction

0 2.5f
Continuous phase viscosity 0.8
0.7 0.6


Emulsion droplets disrupt streamlines and require more effort to get the same flow rate


0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 Volume Fraction

Chemical Composition
Interfacial layer. Essential to stabilizing the emulsion

Oil Phase. Limited effects on the properties of the emulsion Aqueous Phase. Aqueous chemical reactions affect the interface and hence emulsion stability

Emulsion Destabilization
Creaming Flocculation Coalescence Combined methods

Buoyancy (Archimedes)

6 2 d g vs 18c


d g

Friction (Stokes-Einstein)


Continuous phase viscosity density difference g Acceleration due to gravity d droplet diameter v droplet terminal velocity vs Stokes velocity

Flocculation and Coalescence



Rheology of Flocculated Emulsions

Flocculation leads to an increase in viscosity Water is trapped within the floc and must flow with the floc Effective volume fraction increased rg

Gelled Emulsions
Thin liquid Viscous liquid Gelled solid

Creaming & Slight Flocculation

Flocs have larger effective size Smaller Tend to cream much faster

Creaming & Extreme Flocculation

Heavily flocculated emulsions form a network Solid-like properties (gel) Do not cream (may collapse after lag period)



Dilute Foams
Somewhat similar to emulsions Various modes of formation Large (~mm) spherical bubbles Very fast creaming Ostwald ripening

Concentrated Foams
Distorted nonspherical gas cells Very high volume fraction, often >99%

Foam Drainage
Water drains from foam under gravity As water leaves, faces of film are brought closer together

Film Rupture
Film must thin then burst Inhibited by surfactant repulsion/interfacial film Self-repair by the Gibbs-Marangoni effect