When emulsions and suspensions are left to their own condition, they separate into the constituent components and this is called phase separation.
Emulsion and the suspensions are divided into two types; namely the long time separation and short time separation according to phase separation duration.
By using two processes, physical and chemical methods, to avoid the separation of phases in heterogeneous mixtures or to maintain their shape in a homogeneous state for a long period is possible. Substances called emulsifiers are used in chemical processes to prevent separation and to maintain a continuous state of phase. Phase separation is avoided or delayed by reducing the particle size as the physical methods.
Emulsifiers are foreign matters used to provide a homogeneous mixture of foodstuffs with different densities such as oil and water. Briefly, they are molecules that love oil and water. This is a material that typically stabilizes an emulsion chemically and is a surfactant (material which reduces surface tension).
Emulsifiers are also called emulgators.
As an emulsifier, beeswax, fatty acids, lecithin, egg yolk are used for many years. Emulsifiers are widely used in mayonnaise, margarine, cream-containing sauces, packaged foods, in the pharmaceutical and paint industries to prevent phase separation.
To avoid the physical separation of the phase, the particle size of the substance should be reduced. The surface tensions would then reduce and the separation of the phases will be mitigated.
According to Stokes Law, the phase separation rate is proportional to the square of the particle diameter. This means that the time needed for the separation of an oil globule with a particle diameter of 2R is T, and the time needed for the separation of an oil globule with a particle radius of R will be 4T.
As a result, if the phase separation is desired to be prevented physically, the particle size should be reduced. So reducing the particle size, in other words, the most effective method in preventing phase separation is the high-pressure homogenizers.
By adding high pressure, the product that is in fluid form with its heterogeneous composition is forced to pass across a small space. The surface area increases as a result of the micronization of particles passing through the small space at high speed, so they become perpetually homogeneous. This process is called “homogenization”. The machine that performs the homogenization process called high-pressure homogenizer.
“Depending on the pressure and the product you add in the homogenizer, you can reduce particle sizes by 2-20 times This means that there will be 4 to 400 times delayed phase separation. In this way, the production process becomes easier and the product’s shelf life is prolonged. ”
The process performed on the homogenizer is inherently physical, and since it involves no additives, the product’s natural composition does not deteriorate and a healthier product can be produced. Additionally, reducing the usage of pesticides would reduce the cost of production.
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In this article, we discussed how we can prevent phase separation physically, how can we reduce the use of emulsifiers and additives.