Coalescence in semi-concentrated emulsions in simple shear flow

A.V. Korobko, Henricus T.M. van den Ende, W.G.M. Agterof, J. Mellema

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The coalescence frequency in emulsions containing droplets with a low viscosity (viscosity ratio ∼ 0.005) in simple shear flow has been investigated experimentally at several volume fractions of the dispersed phase (2%–14%) and several values of the shear rate (0.1–10 s−1). The evolution of the size distribution was monitored to determine the average coalescence probability from the decay of the total number of droplets. Theoretically models for two-droplet coalescence are considered, where the probability is given by Pc = exp(−τdr/τint). Since the drainage time τdr depends on the size of the two colliding droplets, and the collision time τint depends on the initial orientation of the colliding droplets, the calculated coalescence probability was averaged over the initial orientation distribution and the experimental size distribution. This averaged probability was compared to the experimentally obtained coalescence frequency. The experimental results indicate that (1) to predict the average coalescence probability one has to take into account the full size distribution of the droplets; (2) the coalescence process is best described by the “partially mobile deformable interface” model or the “fully immobile deformable interface” model of Chesters [ A. K. Chesters, Chem. Eng. Res. Des. 69, 259 (1991) ]; and (3) independent of the models used it was concluded that the ratio τdr/τint scales with the coalescence radius to a power (2±1) and with the rate of shear to a power (1.5±1). The critical coalescence radius Ro, above which hardly any coalescence occurs is about 10 μm.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of chemical physics
Issue number204908
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • IR-73482
  • METIS-227707

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