Europhys. Lett.
Volume 76, Number 2, October 2006
Page(s) 332 - 338
Section Interdisciplinary physics and related areas of science and technology
Published online 13 September 2006
Europhys. Lett., 76 (2), pp. 332-338 (2006)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2006-10255-9

Bicontinuous emulsion gels induced by partial coalescence: Kinetics and mechanism

F. Thivilliers1, N. Drelon2, V. Schmitt1 and F. Leal-Calderon2

1  Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal, CNRS Avenue Schweitzer, 33600 Pessac, France
2  Laboratoire des Milieux Dispersés Alimentaires, ISTAB Av. des facultés, 33405 Talence, France

received 21 June 2006; accepted in final form 21 August 2006
published online 13 September 2006

We describe a gelation process based on the unrelaxed coalescence of partially crystallised droplets in a primary oil-in-water emulsion. Under the effect of a gentle thermal treatment, fluid emulsions turned into hard gels whose evolution was arrested by the solid nature of the droplets. The kinetic evolution of the bulk elastic modulus G' during the thermal treatment was interpreted within the frame of percolation theory. The experimental data support the conclusion that coalescence involves irreversible bridging between crystallised and melted patches in the thin liquid films.

82.70.Kj - Emulsions and suspensions.
68.60.Dv - Thermal stability; thermal effects.
47.57.-s - Complex fluids and colloidal systems.

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