The concentration of droplets of the disperse phase toward the top or bottom of the emulsion results in a difference in density between the liquid phases. This phenomenon is known as creaming. Creaming does not necessarily represent a breaking of the emulsion, but with large droplet sizes, it can eventually lead to emulsion breaking.
Another type of emulsion instability results from floc-culation or clumping of individual droplets to form larger aggregates. In this case, the emulsion has inverted due to a sudden change from o/w to w/o and vice versa. The pro gressive coarsening of the dispersion leads to a complete separation or breaking of the emulsion. Emulsion breaking is an irreversible process, often preceded by creaming or inversion.
Was this article helpful?