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Development of formulations, evaluation and characterization of emulsions (complex fluids)


Complex fluids generally correspond to multiphase systems (suspensions, emulsions, gels and foams) whose main characteristic is their microheterogeneity, despite their apparent homogeneity on a macroscopic scale. Microheterogeneity, associated to a complex rheology, may result in incompatibility of certain components, which, over time, evolve into macroscopic alterations of the system (phase separation and instability of the product).

To analyze these systems, IPT uses advanced techniques that allow their microscopic characteristics to be correlated with their post-process macroscopic characteristics, which reflect the quality established for commercial use. The Institute operates with a multidisciplinary team specialized in physicochemical interfacial phenomena and colloidal chemistry, which is fundamental knowledge specific for engineering formulations of complex fluids. All these techniques are applied to micro- or nanostructured systems and allow them to be characterized without modifying their dilution, thus considerably reducing the time and resources required for development of these complex systems.

Examples of these activities are:

Development of Complex Formulations

  • Identification and selection of components compatible with technical, economic and environmental requirements, in order to meet the customer’s specific demands.
  • Determination of the ideal mass ratio of components of a complex formulation, to ensure product performance with low costs.
  • Process selection and definition of operating conditions to obtain complex fluids.
  • Small scale production (bench and pilot scale) of complex formulations.

Characterization of Complex Formulations

  • Use of different analytical techniques for physicochemical characterization of complex formulations. The properties that may be evaluated include: average particle size, morphological aspects, density, viscosity (rheological aspects), surface and interfacial tension, colloidal stability (phase separation kinetics), surface electric load distribution (zeta potential), thermal properties, solid content and chemical composition.