Quantifying the Pathway and Predicting Spontaneous Emulsification during Material Exchange in a Two Phase Liquid System

Stephen Spooner, Alireza Rahnama, Jason M. Warnett, Mark A. Williams, Zushu Li, Seetharaman Sridhar

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Kinetic restriction of a thermodynamically favourable equilibrium is a common theme in materials processing. The interfacial instability in systems where rate of material exchange is far greater than the mass transfer through respective bulk phases is of specific interest when tracking the transient interfacial area, a parameter integral to short processing times for productivity streamlining in all manufacturing where interfacial reaction occurs. This is even more pertinent in high-temperature systems for energy and cost savings. Here the quantified physical pathway of interfacial area change due to material exchange in liquid metal-molten oxide systems is presented. In addition the predicted growth regime and emulsification behaviour in relation to interfacial tension as modelled using phase-field methodology is shown. The observed in-situ emulsification behaviour links quantitatively the geometry of perturbations as a validation method for the development of simulating the phenomena. Thus a method is presented to both predict and engineer the formation of micro emulsions to a desired specification.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14384 (2017)
Number of pages16
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

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The authors would like to thank Tata Steel and EPSRC grant number 1356074 for financial support.


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