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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

Putting two or more liquids together creates an emulsion if the 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. 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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