Membrane emulsification - Articles and news items

Membrane and microchannel emulsification

Issue 3 2012  •  4 July 2012  •  Dr Henelyta Ribeiro, Global Project Leader, Unilever

The production of emulsions with very low mechanical stress and a lower energy input than conventional mechanical methods have been developed in recent years and will be presented in this overview, the so-called membrane and microchannel emulsification. They are efficient processes due to their operational flexibility, reproducibility, straightforward upscaling and reduction in the ratio of equipment size to production capacity, which may lead to novel process intensification1.

The literature has reported distinct membrane and microchannel emulsification technologies developed in various laboratories around the world (Japan, Germany, UK, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France and USA). Membrane emulsification methods include cross-flow, dead-end (also called premix), rotating and vibrating processes. Microchannel emulsifica – tion can be performed using T and Y-junctions, and also by multiple microchannels as the grooved and asymmetric straight-through array types2. Both technologies are able to produce monodisperse oil-in-water (O/W) and water-inoil (W/O) emulsions. It depends on the surface hydrophilicity or hydrophobicity of the membrane respectively. Multiple emulsions (W/O/W) with uniform droplet sizes can also be successfully manufactured.

Membrane emulsification: how to get from basics to business

Issue 2 2009  •  1 June 2009  •  Jeroen Willemsen, Manager Business Development, Food Technology Centre, Wageningen UR and Verena Eisner Researcher Separation Technology, Food Technology Centre, Wageningen UR

Consumer expectations of product quality for food emulsions drive the industry to continuously invest in new production methods. Membrane emulsification (ME) has been known for many years and its potential is emphasised in numerous scientific publications. ME is said to ensure highly controlled production of particulates and be a more energy efficient process than conventional methods. Scientific developments in this area cover the production of oil-in-water (O/W) or water-in-oil (W/O) emulsions to multiple emulsions of different types, solid-in-oil-in-water (S/O/W) dispersions, coherent solids (silica particles, solid lipid microspheres) and structured solids (solid lipid microcarriers, gel microbeads).


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