Research Articles

Factors influencing the crystallisation of highly concentrated water-in-oil emulsions: A DSC study

Karina Kovalchuk, Irina Masalova
South African Journal of Science | Vol 108, No 3/4 | a178 | DOI: | © 2012 Karina Kovalchuk, Irina Masalova | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 March 2010 | Published: 01 March 2012

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Karina Kovalchuk, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa
Irina Masalova, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa

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Highly concentrated emulsions are used in a variety of applications, including the cosmetics, food and liquid explosives industries. The stability of these highly concentrated water-in-oil emulsions was studied by differential scanning calorimetry. Crystallisation of the emulsions was initiated by exposing the emulsions to a low temperature. The effects of surfactant type, electrolyte concentration and electrolyte composition in the aqueous phase on emulsion crystallisation temperature were studied. Surfactant type affected the emulsion crystallisation temperature in the following order: PIBSA-MEA=PIBSA-UREA < PIBSA-MEA/SMO < PIBSA-IMIDE < SMO. These results are in the same sequence as results obtained for the stability of these emulsions in aging studies, that is, PIBSA-MEA was the most stable with age and SMO was the least. The effect of the surfactant type on emulsion crystallisation can probably be attributed to the differing strengths of the surfactant–electrolyte interactions, which result in different molecular packing geometry and differing mobility of the surfactant lipophilic portion at the interface. These results enhance our understanding of the factors that affect the stability of explosive emulsions.


differential scanning calorimetry; surfactant type; electrolyte; highly concentrated emulsions; emulsion stability


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