Freezing-induced topological transition of double-emulsion

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Abstract

Solidification of complex liquids is pertinent to numerous natural and industrial processes. Here, we examine the freezing of a W/O/W double-emulsion, i.e., water-in-oil compound droplets dispersed in water. We show that the solidification of such hierarchical emulsions can trigger a topological transition; for example, in our case, we observe the transition from the stable W/O/W state to a (frozen) O/W single-emulsion configuration. Strikingly, this transition is characterised by sudden expulsion of the inner water drop from the encapsulating oil droplet. We propose that this topological transition is triggered by the freezing of the encapsulating oil droplet from the outside in, putting tension on the inner water drop thus, destabilizing the W/O/W configuration. Using high-speed imaging we characterize the destabilization process. Interestingly, we find that below a critical size of the inner drop, R in,crit ˜ 19 µm, the topological transition does not occur any more and the double-emulsion remains stable, in line with our interpretation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2491-2495
Number of pages5
JournalSoft matter
Volume20
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2024

Keywords

  • UT-Hybrid-D

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