School of Chemistry - Research Publications

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    Minimising oil droplet size using ultrasonic emulsification
    Leong, TSH ; Wooster, TJ ; Kentish, SE ; Ashokkumar, M (ELSEVIER, 2009-08)
    The efficient production of nanoemulsions, with oil droplet sizes of less than 100nm would facilitate the inclusion of oil soluble bio-active agents into a range of water based foods. Small droplet sizes lead to transparent emulsions so that product appearance is not altered by the addition of an oil phase. In this paper, we demonstrate that it is possible to create remarkably small transparent O/W nanoemulsions with average diameters as low as 40nm from sunflower oil. This is achieved using ultrasound or high shear homogenization and a surfactant/co-surfactant/oil system that is well optimised. The minimum droplet size of 40nm, was only obtained when both droplet deformability (surfactant design) and the applied shear (equipment geometry) were optimal. The time required to achieve the minimum droplet size was also clearly affected by the equipment configuration. Results at atmospheric pressure fitted an expected exponential relationship with the total energy density. However, we found that this relationship changes when an overpressure of up to 400kPa is applied to the sonication vessel, leading to more efficient emulsion production. Oil stability is unaffected by the sonication process.