Continuous production of miniemulsions using in-line SMX elements

Authors

  • Ula El-Jaby,

    1. Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
    2. CNRS-LCPP/CPE-LYON, BP 2007, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Villeurbanne, 69616, France
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Michael Cunningham,

    1. Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Timothy F. L. McKenna

    Corresponding author
    1. Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
    2. CNRS-LCPP/CPE-LYON, BP 2007, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Villeurbanne, 69616, France
    • Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

The preparation and stabilization of miniemulsion systems using SMX static mixers (in line with a pump and reservoir tank) and in situ generated surfactants is presented. Neutralization of a water-soluble base with an oil-soluble long chain acid, generating a in situ surfactant at the interface, results in rapid stabilization and emulsification compared to preformed surfactant that must diffuse to, then adsorb on the droplets. As the flow rates (50–75 g/s) and number of mixing elements (7–21 SMX mixers) in series increase, the emulsification time reduces by ∼30-folds (14 vs. 0.5 min). The reduction in the emulsification time required to produce a stable emulsion at 75 g/s and 21 mixing elements more than compensated for the higher pressure in the emulsification loop, consuming five times less energy than what would be consumed when working at 50 g/s and 7 SMX elements. Subsequently, with the rapid emulsification step, it was possible to test the feasibility of a continuous process for direct emulsification followed by polymerization. Comparing this process with a batch process, similar results for the number of particles/number of droplets ratio and conversion were obtained, but the continuous process was accomplished in a single step. © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2011

Ancillary