5 years ago

Universal emulsion stabilization from the arrested adsorption of rough particles at liquid-liquid interfaces

Universal emulsion stabilization from the arrested adsorption of rough particles at liquid-liquid interfaces
Claudia Marschelke, Alla Synytska, Lucio Isa, Emanuele Marini, Svetoslav E. Anachkov, Michele Zanini
Surface heterogeneities, including roughness, significantly affect the adsorption, motion and interactions of particles at fluid interfaces. However, a systematic experimental study, linking surface roughness to particle wettability at a microscopic level, is currently missing. Here we synthesize a library of all-silica microparticles with uniform surface chemistry, but tuneable surface roughness and study their spontaneous adsorption at oil–water interfaces. We demonstrate that surface roughness strongly pins the particles’ contact lines and arrests their adsorption in long-lived metastable positions, and we directly measure the roughness-induced interface deformations around isolated particles. Pinning imparts tremendous contact angle hysteresis, which can practically invert the particle wettability for sufficient roughness, irrespective of their chemical nature. As a unique consequence, the same rough particles stabilize both water-in-oil and oil-in-water emulsions depending on the phase they are initially dispersed in. These results both shed light on fundamental phenomena concerning particle adsorption at fluid interfaces and indicate future design rules for particle-based emulsifiers.

Publisher URL: http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15701

DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15701

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