On the Negative Surface Tension of Solutions and on Spontaneous Emulsification.

  • George Kaptay
  • Published 2017 in
    Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and…


The condition of negative surface tension of a binary regular solution is discussed in this paper using the recently reconfirmed Butler equation (Langmuir 2015, 31, 5796-5804). It is shown that the surface tension becomes negative only for solutions with strong repulsion between the components. This repulsion for negative surface tension should be so strong that this phenomenon appears only within a miscibility gap, that is, in a two-phase region of macroscopic liquid solutions. Thus, for a macroscopic solution, the negative surface tension is possible only in a nonequilibrium state. However, for a nano-solution, negative surface tension is also possible in equilibrium state. It is also shown that nano- and microemulsions can be thermodynamically stable against both coalescence and phase separation. Further, the thermodynamic theory of emulsion stability is developed for a three-component (A-B-C) system with A-rich droplets dispersed in a C-rich matrix, separated by the segregated B-rich layer (the solubility of B is limited in both A and C while the mutual solubility of A and C is neglected). It is shown that when a critical droplet size is achieved by forced emulsification, it is replaced by spontaneous emulsification and the droplet size is reduced further to its equilibrium value. The existence of maximum temperature of emulsion stability is shown. Using low-energy emulsification below this maximum temperature, spontaneous emulsification can appear, which is enhanced with further decrease of temperature. This finding can be applied to interpret the experimental observations on spontaneous emulsification or for the design of stable micro- and nanoemulsions.

DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.7b01968

Cite this paper

@article{Kaptay2017OnTN, title={On the Negative Surface Tension of Solutions and on Spontaneous Emulsification.}, author={George Kaptay}, journal={Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids}, year={2017}, volume={33 40}, pages={10550-10560} }