Surfactant Effects on Viscous Interactions of Drops


Surfactant Effects on Viscous Interactions of Drops

The term “surfactant” is short for "surface-active agents," like soap. Surfactants  reside at the interface between two liquids, or a liquid and a gas, and modify the interfacial tension between the phases. The presence of surfactant affects the interactions between drops in an immiscible medium, including whether or not the drops coalesce. These interactions are important in emulsion stability, sedimentation and creaming, polymer blending, rheology, liquid-liquid extraction, and geophysical flows. Thus, understanding how surfactants work is important to many industries, including food, pesticides, paints, ore flotation, and detergents.

The primary objective of this research is to develop a fundamental understanding of the role of surfactants on dilute dispersions of spherical and deformable drops in a variety of flows. Analytical and semi-analytical methods are used for two spherical drops in the presence of surfactant, while boundary-integral methods are employed for two moderately deformable drops. In general, the goal is to calculate collision efficiencies for spherical drops, or breakup and capture efficiencies for deformable drops, by a trajectory analysis. The behavior of dilute dispersions can then be predicted through population dynamics simulations. 

A bibliography of this group’s publications acknowledging MSI is attached.

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