Evaporation of an emulsion trapped in a yield stress fluid
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Accepted: 9 February 2009
Published online: 27 March 2009
The present work deals with emulsions of volatile alkanes in an aqueous clay suspension, Laponite, which forms a yield stress fluid. For a large enough yield stress (i.e. Laponite concentration), the oil droplets are prevented from creaming and the emulsions are thus mechanically stabilized. We have studied the evaporation kinetics of the oil phase of those emulsions in contact with the atmosphere. We show that the evaporation process is characterized by the formation of a sharp front separating the emulsion from a droplet-free Laponite phase, and that the displacement of the front vs. time follows a diffusion law. Experimental data are confronted to a diffusion-controlled model, in the case where the limiting step is the diffusion of the dissolved oil through the aqueous phase. The nature of the alkane, as well as its volume fraction in the emulsion, has been varied. Quantitative agreement with the model is achieved without any adjustable parameter and we describe the mechanism leading to the formation of a front.
PACS: 47.57.-s Complex fluids and colloidal systems – / 64.70.fm Thermodynamics studies of evaporation and condensation – / 66.10.-x Diffusion and ionic conduction in liquids – / 47.57.Bc Foams and emulsions –
© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2009