skip to main content

Title: Rheology of capillary foams
Aqueous foams are ubiquitous; they appear in products and processes that span the cosmetics, food, and energy industries. The versatile applicability of foams comes as a result of their intrinsic viscous and elastic properties; for example, foams are exploited as drilling fluids in enhanced oil recovery for their high viscosity. Recently, so-called capillary foams were discovered: a class of foams that have excellent stability under static conditions and whose flow properties have so far remained unexplored. The unique architecture of these foams, containing oil-coated bubbles and a gelled network of oil-bridged particles, is expected to affect foam rheology. In this work, we report the first set of rheological data on capillary foams. We study the viscoelastic properties of capillary foams by conducting oscillatory and steady shear tests. We compare our results on the rheological properties of capillary foams to those reported for other aqueous foams. We find that capillary foams, which have low gas volume fractions, exhibit long lasting rheological stability as well as a yielding behavior that is reminiscent of surfactant foams with high gas volume fractions.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Soft Matter
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Three-phase suspensions, of liquid that suspends dispersed solid particles and gas bubbles, are common in both natural and industrial settings. Their rheology is poorly constrained, particularly for high total suspended fractions (≳0.5). We use a dam-break consistometer to characterize the rheology of suspensions of (Newtonian) corn syrup, plastic particles and CO 2 bubbles. The study is motivated by a desire to understand the rheology of magma and lava. Our experiments are scaled to the volcanic system: they are conducted in the non-Brownian, non-inertial regime; bubble capillary number is varied across unity; and bubble and particle fractions are 0 ≤  ϕ gas  ≤ 0.82 and 0 ≤  ϕ solid  ≤ 0.37, respectively. We measure flow-front velocity and invert for a Herschel–Bulkley rheology model as a function of ϕ gas , ϕ solid , and the capillary number. We find a stronger increase in relative viscosity with increasing ϕ gas in the low to intermediate capillary number regime than predicted by existing theory, and find both shear-thinning and shear-thickening effects, depending on the capillary number. We apply our model to the existing community code for lava flow emplacement, PyFLOWGO, and predict increased viscosity and decreased velocity compared with current rheological models, suggesting existing models may not adequately account for the role of bubbles in stiffening lavas. 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Polymer foams are cellular solids composed of solid and gas phases, whose mechanical, thermal, and acoustic properties are determined by the composition, volume fraction, and connectivity of both phases. A new high‐throughput additive manufacturing method, referred to as direct bubble writing, for creating polymer foams with locally programmed bubble size, volume fraction, and connectivity is reported. Direct bubble writing relies on rapid generation and patterning of liquid shell–gas core droplets produced using a core–shell nozzle. The printed polymer foams are able to retain their overall shape, since the outer shell of these bubble droplets consist of a low‐viscosity monomer that is rapidly polymerized during the printing process. The transition between open‐ and closed‐cell foams is independently controlled by the gas used, while the foam can be tailored on‐the‐fly by adjusting the gas pressure used to produce the bubble droplets. As exemplars, homogeneous and graded polymer foams in several motifs, including 3D lattices, shells, and out‐of‐plane pillars are fabricated. Conductive composite foams with controlled stiffness for use as soft pressure sensors are also produced.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract Interfacial rheology studies were conducted to establish a connection between the rheological characteristics of particle-laden interfaces and the stability of Pickering foams. The behavior of foams stabilized with fumed and spherical colloidal silica particles was investigated, focusing on foam properties such as bubble microstructure and liquid content. Compared to a sodium dodecyl sulfate-stabilized foam, Pickering foams exhibited a notable reduction in bubble coarsening. Drop shape tensiometry measurements on particle-coated interfaces indicated that the Gibbs stability criterion was satisfied for both particle types at various surface coverages, supporting the observed arrested bubble coarsening in particle-stabilized foams. However, although the overall foam height was similar for both particle types, foams stabilized with fumed silica particles demonstrated a higher resistance to liquid drainage. This difference was attributed to the higher yield strain of interfacial networks formed by fumed silica particles, as compared to those formed by spherical colloidal particles at similar surface pressures. Our findings highlight that while both particles can generate long-lasting foams, the resulting Pickering foams may exhibit variations in microstructure, liquid content, and resistance to destabilization mechanisms, stemming from the respective interfacial rheological properties in each case. 
    more » « less
  4. Driven by the surface activity of graphene, electrically conductive elastomeric foams have been synthesized by the controlled reassembly of graphene sheets; from their initial stacked morphology, as found in graphite, to a percolating network of exfoliated sheets, defining hollow spheres. This network creates a template for the formation of composite foams, whose swelling behavior is sensitive to the composition of the solvent, and whose electrical resistance is sensitive to physical deformation. The self‐assembly of graphene sheets is driven thermodynamically, as graphite is found to act as a 2D surfactant and is spread at high‐energy interfaces. This spreading, or exfoliation, of graphite at an oil/water interface stabilizes water‐in‐oil emulsions, without the need for added surfactants or chemical modification of the graphene. Using a monomer such as butyl acrylate for the emulsion's oil phase, elastomeric foams are created by polymerizing the continuous oil phase. Removal of the aqueous phase then results in robust, conductive, porous, and inexpensive composites, with potential applications in energy storage, filtration, and sensing.

    more » « less
  5. Sodium naphthenates (NaNs), found in crude oils and oil sands process-affected water (OSPW), can act as surfactants and stabilize undesirable foams and emulsions. Despite the critical impact of soap-like NaNs on the formation, properties, and stability of petroleum and OSPW foams, there is a significant lack of studies that characterize foam film drainage, motivating this study. Here, we contrast the drainage of aqueous foam films formulated with NaN with foams containing sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), a well-studied surfactant system, in the relatively low concentration regime ( c /CMC < 12.5). The foam films exhibit drainage via stratification, displaying step-wise thinning and coexisting thick–thin regions manifested as distinct shades of gray in reflected light microscopy due to thickness-dependent interference intensity. Using IDIOM (interferometry digital imaging optical microscopy) protocols that we developed, we analyze pixel-wise intensity to obtain thickness maps with high spatiotemporal resolution (thickness <1 nm, lateral ∼500 nm, time ∼10 ms). The analysis of interference intensity variations over time reveals that the aqueous foam films of both SDS and NaN possess an evolving, dynamic, and rich nanoscopic topography. The nanoscopic thickness transitions for stratifying SDS foam films are attributed to the role played by damped supramolecular oscillatory structural disjoining pressure contributed by the confinement-induced layering of spherical micelles. In comparison with SDS, we find smaller concentration-dependent step size and terminal film thickness values for NaN, implying weaker intermicellar interactions and oscillatory structural disjoining pressure with shorter decay length and periodicity. 
    more » « less