Emulsion

mixture of two or more liquids that are normally immiscible

An emulsion is what you get when you put two or more liquids together and the two liquids do not mix. Immiscible liquids do not mix together. For example, if you add oil to water, the oil floats on the surface of the water. And if you shake the two together then leave them to stand, tiny droplets of oil float upwards. These droplets join together until eventually the oil is floating on the water again. To stop the two liquids separating, we need a substance called an emulsifier.

Different kinds of emulsions:
  • A: the two liquids are separated, one is on top, the other at the bottom
  • B: The second liquid is dispersed in the first
  • C: The unstable emulsion separates (which will lead to the picture A)
  • D: Surfactant positions itself between the two liquids

Emulsifiers are molecules that have two different ends, a hydrophilic end (water-loving) that forms chemical bonds with water but not with oils, and a hydrophobic end (water-hating) that forms chemical bonds with oils but not with water.

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