Thermal Fluctuation Interactions

The interfacial region which separates the oil and aqueous phases of an emulsion is often highly dynamic (Israelachvili 1992). In particular, interfaces that are comprised of small-molecule surfactants tend to exhibit undulations because their bending energy is relatively small compared to the thermal energy of the system (Figure 3.21a). In addition, the surfactant molecules may be continually twisting and turning, as well as moving in and out of the interfacial region (Figure 3.21b). When two dynamic interfaces move close to each other, they experience a number of repulsive thermal fluctuation interactions which are entropic in

FIGURE 3.21 Interfaces that are comprised of small-molecule surfactants are susceptible to protrusion and undulation interactions.

FIGURE 3.21 Interfaces that are comprised of small-molecule surfactants are susceptible to protrusion and undulation interactions.

origin (Figure 3.20) (Israelachvili 1992). In emulsions, the two most important of these are protrusion and undulation interactions.

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