Rheology of oil-in-water emulsions

Y. Otsubo, R. K. Prud'homme

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137 Scopus citations


The effect of interfacial tension on the steady-flow and dynamic viscoelastic behavior of emulsions are studied experimentally. At very low inter-facial tensions and low volume fractions, the viscosity decreases with increasing shear rate and becomes constant at high shear rates. The high-shear-rate Newtonian viscosity is not affected by interfacial tension, but the transition from pseudoplastic to Newtonian flow shifts to lower shear rates as the interfacial tension decreases. At an interfacial tension of 5 × 10-3 Nm-1, the viscosity decreases, passes through a minimum, and then increases as the shear rate is increased. The dilatant behavior may be attributed to elastic responses of interfaces during collision of drops. At high volume fractions, the emulsions show remarkable elasticity resulting from the interfacial energy associated with deformation of liquid films. The modulus and viscosity are proportional to interfacial tension and inversely proportional to drop size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-37
Number of pages9
JournalRheologica Acta
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • General Materials Science


  • Oil-in-water emulsion
  • dynamic viscoelasticity
  • interfacial tension
  • steady shear viscosity


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