- General Information
- Catalog & Data Sheets
- Publications & Protocols
Emulsification is one of the most common applications of Sonicators. The powerful ultrasonic forces created by Sonicators can produce a homogenous emulsion from two normally immiscible liquids through extreme particle-size reduction. Emulsions of nanoscale particles, often referred to as nanoemulsions, can be produced, providing the maximum possible stability and consistency.
By producing acoustic cavitation – the rapid formation and collapse of air bubbles in the system - Sonicators create powerful hydro-mechanical shear forces and promote the release of reactive radicals. These powerful forces break apart particles, thus promoting emulsion.
Sonicators are capable of creating extremely small particle sizes. Depending on the chemistry of your mixture, it may be possible to create particle sizes in the tens of nanometers. However, homogenization alone cannot make insoluble materials soluble. While nanoemulsions are generally more stable than emulsions involving larger particle sizes, creating truly stable nanoemulsions often requires the use of a surfactant formulation. If you have the chemistry expertise, you can develop your own formulation. Otherwise, there are many commercially available surfactants suitable for various applications.
Creation of stable nanoemulsions are a common goal in cannabis product manufacturing. For more information on that application, please see Cannabis Applications.
Emulsification Publications and Protocols
- Ultrasound-assisted preparation of anise extract nanoemulsion and its bioactivity against different pathogenic bacteria:
- Effects of amplitude and pulse in low frequency ultrasound on oil/water emulsions:
- Water-in-oil Lecithin microcapsule production using an in-liner mixer:
- One-step, highly stable Pickering emulsions stabilized by ZnO: tuning emulsion stability by in situ functionalization
Tips & Info for Emulsification
- Be sure to use the appropriately sized probe to match your sample volume. Smaller probes have higher amplitude which will more effectively reduce particle sizes, however using too small of a probe will create insufficient flow and uneven homogenization. This is especially important when looking to create nanoemulsions.
- Smaller particle sizes will generally create smoother and more stable emulsions.
- The smallest achievable particle size will be dependent on the chemistry of your mixture.
- Particle size reduction alone generally will not make insoluble particles soluble. While they may stay homogenous for a long time, they usually will eventually reagglomerate. To maintain homogeneity of your emulsion for a very long period of time, a surfactant may be required.
- Ultrasonic systems, especially larger ultrasonic systems, work best with low-viscosity liquids. If you are working with a viscous material, you may need to use a smaller volume. The viscosity of many liquids can also be substantially reduced by heating. (Sonicator probes can be used up to about 60°C; custom probes can be special ordered to operate at higher temperatures.) As a rule of thumb, if your mixture is more viscous than a thin honey, it is probably too viscous to be effectively homogenized.