Membrane emulsification is a promising and relatively new technique for producing emulsions. The purpose of this study was to better understand the influence of interfacial tension on droplet formation during membrane emulsification. Droplet formation experiments were carried out with a microengineered membrane; the droplet diameter and droplet formation time were studied as a function of the surfactant concentration in the continuous phase. These experiments confirm that the interfacial tension influences the process of droplet formation; higher surfactant concentrations lead to smaller droplets and shorter droplet formation times (until 10 ms). From drop volume tensiometer experiments we can predict the interfacial tension during droplet formation. However, the strong influence of the rate of flow of the to-be-dispersed phase on the droplet size cannot be explained by the predicted values. This large influence of the oil rate of flow is clarified by the hypothesis that snap-off is rather slow in the studied regime of very fast droplet formation. (C) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- in-water emulsions