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Foaming of binary mixtures: link with the nonlinear behaviour of surface tension in asymmetric mixtures

Abstract : The lifetimes of single bubbles or foams that are formed in mixtures of liquids can be several orders of magnitude larger than the ones formed in pure liquids. We recently demonstrated that this enhanced stability results from differences between bulk and interfacial concentrations in the mixture, which induce a thickness dependence of the surface tension in liquid films, and thus a stabilizing Marangoni effect. Concentration differences may be associated with nonlinear variations of surface tension with composition and we further investigate their link with foamability of binary mixtures. We show that, for asymmetric binary mixtures, i.e. made of molecules of very different sizes, strong nonlinearities in surface tension can be measured, that are associated with large foam lifetimes. When the molecules that occupy the largest surface areas have the smallest surface tension, the surface tension of the mixture varies sublinearly with composition, reflecting an enrichment in this species at the interface with air, as classically reported in the literature. In contrast, when they exhibit the largest surface tension, superlinear variations of surface tension are observed despite a similar enrichment. We discuss these variations in light of a simple thermodynamic model for ideal mixtures and we demonstrate why foam stability is enhanced for both sublinear and superlinear surface tension variations, thus shedding new light on foamability without added surfactants.
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Submitted on : Monday, November 8, 2021 - 5:25:29 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 17, 2021 - 12:34:05 PM

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H Tran, L Delance, N Passade-Boupat, E Verneuil, F Lequeux, et al.. Foaming of binary mixtures: link with the nonlinear behaviour of surface tension in asymmetric mixtures. Langmuir, American Chemical Society, 2021, ⟨10.1021/acs.langmuir.1c02198⟩. ⟨hal-03419871⟩

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