Magnetically induced agitation in liquid-liquid-magnetic nanoparticle emulsions: Potential for process intensification


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Microscopic mixing using magnetic nanoparticles (MNP) unveils exciting ramifications for process intensification in chemical engineering. This study explores the use of oil-in-water MNP emulsions to achieve mixing in a nonmagnetic continuous phase tantamount to that occurring in equivalent dilute ferrofluid suspensions. To assess the technique, measurements of the torque exerted by ferrofluid emulsions and suspensions of equal magnetic content were performed in rotating, oscillating, and static magnetic fields. Results show that momentum transfer is fairly alike in amplitude and proportionality for the two types of systems of equal magnetic content under the three types of magnetic fields. This implies that momentum of spinning nanoparticles in the emulsions is transferable to the oil droplets containing them which, in return is then transferred to surrounding nonmagnetic liquid. The magnitude of the resulting mixing allows for the foresight of a versatile MNP mixing technology completely separated from the target phase being mixed. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 60: 1176–1181, 2014