(195h) Food-Grade Surfactant Blends for Stabilization of Oil and Water Emulsions

Gupta, A., Rochester Institute of Technology
Valenzuela, P., Rochester Institute of Technology
Oil spills can have a devastating impact on the surrounding environment, especially in the ocean and marine life. Dispersants containing chemicals are frequently used to reduce the oil slicks to smaller droplets that can be biodegraded by naturally occurring marine microbes. However, the toxicity of the oil and of the chemicals in dispersants can have devastating effects on marine life. An effective blend of food grade zwitterionic and charged surfactants as an alternative to the commonly used toxic dispersants was investigated to form stabilized oil and water emulsions. A systematic study was conducted to understand the effects of varying ratios of zwitterionic/charged surfactants, surfactant/oil, and the presence of ions in water on the formation of resultant emulsions as a function of time and emulsion droplet size. Our preliminary studies indicate the effects of charge interactions between the ions and the surfactants head groups as one of the key factors that causes the stabilization of oil and water emulsions.