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Particle Stabilization of Oil–Fluorocarbon Interfaces and Effects on Multiphase Oil-in-Water Complex Emulsion Morphology and Reconfigurability

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posted on 07.02.2020 by Seong Ik Cheon, Leonardo Batista Capaverde Silva, Rachael Ditzler, Lauren D. Zarzar
Stabilization of oil–oil interfaces is important for nonaqueous emulsions as well as for multiphase oil-in-water emulsions, with relevance to a variety of fields ranging from emulsion polymerization to sensors and optics. Here, we focus on examining the ability of functionalized silica particles to stabilize interfaces between fluorinated oils and other immiscible oils (such as hydrocarbons and silicones) in nonaqueous emulsions and also on the particles’ ability to affect the morphology and reconfigurability of complex, biphasic oil-in-water emulsions. We compare the effectiveness of fluorophilic, lipophilic, and bifunctional fluorophilic-lipophilic coated nanoparticles to stabilize these oil–oil interfaces. Sequential bulk emulsification steps by vortex mixing, or emulsification by microfluidics, can be used to create complex droplets in which particles stabilize the oil–oil interfaces and surfactants stabilize the oil–water interfaces. We examine the influence of particles adsorbed at the internal oil–oil interface in complex droplets to hinder the reconfiguration of these complex emulsions upon addition of aqueous surfactants, creating “metastable” droplets that resist changes in morphology. Such metastable droplets can be triggered to reconfigure when heated above their upper critical solution temperature. Thus, not only do these bifunctional silica particles enable the stabilization of a broad array of oil-fluorocarbon nonaqueous emulsions, but the ability to address the oil–oil interface within complex O/O/W droplets expands the diversity of oil chemical choices available and the accessibility of droplet morphologies and sensitivity.

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