Developing an emulsion involves a number of steps but kinetic stability is the most crucial property to determine its industrial application. The general aim in food and pharmaceutical areas is to improve emulsions stability, however in some bioprocesses the hindrance of this property is desired. For this reason, study of different compounds influencing emulsions stability is important. Furthermore, the formation of a stable emulsion in several processes is a drawback, making necessary to evaluate emulsions stability in order to determine the downstreaming (oil separation) conditions and the necessary amount of demulsifiers to induce emulsions destabilization (e.g. bioprocesses and petroleum industries). In this sense, the application of microfluidic devices is an interesting and low-cost concept to induce emulsions coalescence. The scientific outcomes can be useful to obtain insights to evaluate emulsions stability as well as to improve the downstreaming process, and can be applied in different research and industrial fields. Therefore, the objective of this project will be to investigate emulsions formation and coalescence within microchannels in order to understand the phenomena involved in emulsions (de)stabilization. Moreover, demulsifier agents can be injected and micromixed with emulsions to induce coalescence in the most stable emulsions. The group of Patrick Tabeling has reported many studies related to microchannels and micromixers development. In addition, he is currently the director of the Institut Pierre-Gilles de Gennes (an institution in France dedicated to microfluidics and its applications), presenting an important background in microfluidic technologies. On the other hand, Rosiane Lopes da Cunha's group (in Brazil) has the expertise in emulsions and experience in formation of emulsions in microfluidic devices. In this context, we believe that this joint collaboration will be essential for a better understanding of emulsions (de)stabilization when subjected to different microchannels conditions.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: