Simple and Effective Particle-size Characterization of Opaque Emulsions

L. Bonnin, B. Müller, T. Gassenmeier, R.H.H. Neubert

Because emulsions are metastable, predicting their stability and phase behavior is a crucial topic of research. Indeed, emulsionsBecause emulsions are metastable, predicting their stability and phase behavior is a crucial topic of research. Indeed, emulsionsare widely used in the chemical industry and formulators must be able to assess their stability e.g. life-cycle or shelves-life.Although several devices, available on the market, are claiming to be able to assess emulsions´ stability, they often use laser orultrasound diffraction techniques which offer limited capabilities for studying opaque emulsions. This study is describing how theusage of a simple light microscope, already present as a standard equipment in lots of laboratories, can lead to the precise assessmentof the particle-size distribution of various cosmetic o/w emulsions. The light microscope was equipped with an objective (40x)having a negative phase-contrast ring. The particle-size characterization by means of phase-contrast microscopy enabled to drawconclusion about the stability over time of two o/w emulsions and to observe the influence of additives on their phase behavior.This novel image analysis method delivered relevant information about the particle-size distribution i.e. stability, of the emulsionsat an earlier stage than classical stability tests methods.

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