The bulk properties and structural characteristics of emulsions arise substantially from their interfacial rheology, which depends strongly on surfactant mass transfer and its coupling to flow. Typical methods used to measure such properties often employ simpler flows and larger drops than those encountered in typical processing applications. Mass transfer mechanisms are governed by droplet size; therefore experimentation at length scales typical of those encountered in applications is desirous. Utilizing a microfluidic approach allows for high-throughput experimentation at relevant length scales and with adjustable flow dynamics. Using a microfluidic device that facilitates the measurement of interfacial tension in two-phase droplet flows, particle tracers are also used to determine the droplet internal circulation velocity as a measure of interfacial mobility. Combining these measurements in a single device, the coupling between interfacial tension, interfacial retardation, and surfactant mass transfer is explored and mass transfer coefficients and interfacial mobility are measured for a two-phase system containing a diffusing surfactant. Such a device is also utilized to probe the deformability of elastic capsules and viscoelastic biological cells.
Citation: Advanced Materials
Pub Type: Journals
Microfluidics, Interfacial Rheology, Complex Fluids