Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol.343, No.1, 79-86, 2010
Avalanches of coalescence events and local extensional flows -Stabilisation or destabilisation due to surfactant
From two-drop collision experiments, it is known that local extensional flow favors coalescence. Recently, Bremond et al. used microfluiclic methods to evidence this point. Similarly, We used specific microfluidic geometries to impose sudden extensional flow, following drop collision under controlled conditions, and coalescence events were recorded with a high-speed camera. In this study we focus on the effect of surfactant on the coalescence, or stabilisation against it, between drops flowing apart due to either imposed external flow or capillary forces related to drop shape relaxation. Coalescence call he induced even when drops are initially separated by an intersticial lubricating film by far thicker than the critical thickness for rupturing under the action of Van der Waals forces. This is particularly relevant to avalanches of coalescence events, in flowing or even quiescent emulsions or foams. When non-ionic surfactant Was used, it was observed that small concentrations apparently enhance coalescence in extension. But at higher concentrations it provides stabilisation through a specific mechanism of thread formation and rupture; the stabilisation mechanism call be complex. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.