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Formation Of Emulsions In A Screw Loop Reactor

A. Ludwig, U. Flechtner, J. Prüss, H. Warnecke
Published 1997 · Chemistry

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The following article concerns emulsification reaction in a continuous screw loop reactor. The influence of hydrodynamics on the emulsification process as well as the influence of some specific substances were examined. We produced oil/water model emulsions under different test conditions and we determined the correlations between the mixing behavior of the reactor and the characteristic features of the obtained emulsion. Special consideration was given to the droplet size and its distribution. Variable operating conditions of the reactor are the residence time and the rotational speed of the screw, both of which have a decisive influence on the recycle factor and the number of passages through the rotor/stator system. In addition we determined the dependence of the obtained droplet size distribution on the viscosity of the continuous and dispersed phase, on the interfacial surface tension and on the phase proportions. The influence of the specific type of emulsifying agent and its concentration has been examined as well. The positive effect of the mixing and of the recirculation on the emulsification in the screw loop reactor was particularly evident with low emulsifier concentrations and with emulsifiers with slow adsorption kinetics. The established theories for emulsion formation (Kolmogoroff, Taylor) were used for a quantitative description of the experimental results. The screw loop reactor was compared to an agitated tank reactor and a toothed-ring dispersing machine (Ultra Turrax) based on the comminution energy which is produced per unit volume of emulsion. The agitated tank reactor produced only coarsely dispersed emulsions through the entire rotational speed range, wheras the screw loop reactor and the Ultra Turrax, particularly at high rotational speeds and, therefore, high power densities, showed a similar emulsification and produced much finer dispersed emulsions.
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