Interfacial rheology of sterically stabilized colloids at liquid interfaces and its effect on the stability of Pickering emulsions

Rob Van Hooghten, Victoria Blair, Anja Vananroye, Andrew B Schofield, Jan Vermant, Job Thijssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Particle-laden interfaces can be used to stabilize a variety of high-interface systems, from foams over emulsions to polymer blends. The relation between the particle interactions, the structure and rheology of the interface, and the stability of the system remains unclear. In the present work, we experimentally investigate how micron-sized, near-hard-sphere-like particles affect the mechanical properties of liquid interfaces. In particular, by comparing dried and undried samples, we investigate the effect of aggregation state on the properties of the particle-laden liquid interface and its relation to the stability of the corresponding Pickering emulsions. Partially aggregated suspensions give rise to a soft-solid-like response under shear, whereas for stable PMMA particulate layers a liquid-like behaviour is observed. For interfacial creep-recovery measurements, we present an empirical method to correct for the combined effect of the subphase drag and the compliance of the double-wall ring geometry, which makes a significant contribution to the apparent elasticity of weak interfaces. We further demonstrate that both undried and dried PMMA particles can stabilize emulsions for months, dispelling the notion that particle aggregation, in bulk or at the interface, is required to create stable Pickering emulsions. Our results indicate that shear rheology is a sensitive probe of colloidal interactions, but is not necessarily a predictor of the stability of interfaces, e.g.~in quiescent Pickering emulsions, as in the latter the response to dilatational deformations can be of prime importance.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date17 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • interfacial rheology
  • particle-laden interface
  • water-oil interface
  • colloid
  • PMMA
  • particle-stabilized emulsion
  • Pickering emulsion


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