Stability of additive-free water-in-oil emulsions

Jos Zwanikken*, Joost de Graaf, Markus Bier, Rene van Roij

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We calculate ion distributions near a planar oil-water interface within nonlinear Poisson-Boltzmann theory, taking into account the Born self-energy of the ions in the two media. For unequal self-energies of cations and anions a spontaneous charge separation is found, such that the water and oil phases become oppositely charged in slabs with a typical thickness of the Debye screening length in the two media. From the analytical solutions, the corresponding interfacial charge density and the contribution to the interfacial tension is derived, together with an estimate for the Yukawa potential between two spherical water droplets in oil. The parameter regime is explored where the plasma coupling parameter exceeds the crystallization threshold, i.e. where the droplets are expected to form crystalline structures due to a strong Yukawa repulsion, as recently observed experimentally. Extensions of the theory that we discuss briefly, include numerical calculations on spherical water droplets in oil, and analytical calculations of the linear PB-equation for a finite oil-water interfacial width.

Original languageEnglish
Article number494238
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Physics: Condensed Matter
Issue number49
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2008
Event7th Liquid Matter Conference - Lund, Sweden
Duration: 27 Jun 20081 Jul 2008




Dive into the research topics of 'Stability of additive-free water-in-oil emulsions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this