Emulsion Microgel Particles as High-Performance Bio-Lubricants.
ABSTRACT: Starch-based emulsion microgel particles with different starch (15 and 20 wt %) and oil contents (0-15 wt %) were synthesized, and their lubrication performance under physiological conditions was investigated. Emulsion microgels were subjected to skin mimicking or oral cavity mimicking conditions, i.e., smooth hydrophobic polydimethylsiloxane ball-on-disc tribological tests, in the absence or presence of salivary enzyme (?-amylase). In the absence of enzyme, emulsion microgel particles (30-60 vol % particle content) conserved the lubricating properties of emulsion droplets, providing considerably lower friction coefficients (? ? 0.1) in the mixed lubrication regime compared to plain microgel particles (0 wt % oil). Upon addition of enzyme, the lubrication performance of emulsion microgel particles became strongly dependent on the particles' oil content. Microgel particles encapsulating 5-10 wt % oil showed a double plateau mixed lubrication regime having a lowest friction coefficient ? ? 0.03 and highest ? ? 0.1, the latter higher than with plain microgel particles. An oil content of 15 wt % was necessary for the microgel particles to lubricate similarly to the emulsion droplets, where both systems showed a normal mixed lubrication regime with ? ? 0.03. The observed trends in tribology, theoretical considerations, and the combined results of rheology, light scattering, and confocal fluorescence microscopy suggested that the mechanism behind the low friction coefficients was a synergistic enzyme- and shear-triggered release of the emulsion droplets, improving lubrication. The present work thus demonstrates experimentally and theoretically a novel biolubricant additive with stimuli-responsive properties capable of providing efficient boundary lubrication between soft polymeric surfaces. At the same time, the additive should provide an effective delivery vehicle for oil soluble ingredients in aqueous media. These findings demonstrate that emulsion microgel particles can be developed into multifunctional biolubricant additives for future use in numerous soft matter applications where both lubrication and controlled release of bioactives are essential.
Project description:Like charges stabilize emulsions, whereas opposite charges break emulsions. This is the fundamental principle for many industrial and practical processes. Using micrometer-sized pH-sensitive polymeric hydrogel particles as emulsion stabilizers, we prepare emulsions that consist of oppositely charged droplets, which do not coalesce. We observe noncoalescence of oppositely charged droplets in bulk emulsification as well as in microfluidic devices, where oppositely charged droplets are forced to collide within channel junctions. The results demonstrate that electrostatic interactions between droplets do not determine their stability and reveal the unique pH-dependent properties of emulsions stabilized by soft microgel particles. The noncoalescence can be switched to coalescence by neutralizing the microgels, and the emulsion can be broken on demand. This unusual feature of the microgel-stabilized emulsions offers fascinating opportunities for future applications of these systems.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Emulsions stabilized by colloidal particles are known as Pickering emulsions. To date, soft microgel particles as well as inorganic and organic particles have been utilized as Pickering emulsifiers. Although cyclodextrin (CD) works as an attractive emulsion stabilizer through the formation of a CD-oil complex at the oil-water interface, a high concentration of CD is normally required. Our research focuses on an effective Pickering emulsifier based on a soft colloidal CD polymer (CD nanogel) with a unique surface-active property. RESULTS:CD nanogels were prepared by crosslinking heptakis(2,6-di-O-methyl)-?-cyclodextrin with phenyl diisocyanate and subsequent immersion of the resulting polymer in water. A dynamic light scattering study shows that primary CD nanogels with 30-50 nm diameter assemble into larger CD nanogels with 120 nm diameter by an increase in the concentration of CD nanogel from 0.01 to 0.1 wt %. The CD nanogel has a surface-active property at the air-water interface, which reduces the surface tension of water. The CD nanogel works as an effective Pickering emulsion stabilizer even at a low concentration (0.1 wt %), forming stable oil-in-water emulsions through interfacial adsorption by the CD nanogels. CONCLUSION:Soft CD nanogel particles adsorb at the oil-water interface with an effective coverage by forming a strong interconnected network and form a stable Pickering emulsion. The adsorption property of CD nanogels on the droplet surface has great potential to become new microcapsule building blocks with porous surfaces. These microcapsules may act as stimuli-responsive nanocarriers and nanocontainers.
Project description:Slippery lubricant-infused surfaces allow easy removal of liquid droplets on surfaces. They consist of textured or porous substrates infiltrated with a chemically compatible lubricant. Capillary forces help to keep the lubricant in place. Slippery surfaces hold promising prospects in applications including drag reduction in pipes or food packages, anticorrosion, anti-biofouling, or anti-icing. However, a critical drawback is that shear forces induced by flow lead to depletion of the lubricant. In this work, a way to overcome the shear-induced lubricant depletion by replenishing the lubricant from the flow of emulsions is presented. The addition of small amounts of positively charged surfactant reduces the charge repulsion between the negatively charged oil droplets contained in the emulsion. Attachment and coalescence of oil droplets from the oil-in-water emulsion at the substrate surface fills the structure with the lubricant. Flow-induced lubrication of textured surfaces can be generalized to a broad range of lubricant-solid combinations using minimal amounts of oil.
Project description:Medium and high internal phase Pickering emulsions stabilized by cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) have been prepared and the effects of CNC concentration and type of oil phase on the properties of emulsions were studied. The maximum oil phase volume that can be stabilized by CNCs is 87% when the CNC concentration is 0.6?wt.%; this slightly decreases to 83% when the CNC concentration is increased to 1.2?wt.% or higher. In addition, the oil droplets stabilized with 0.6?wt.% CNC suspensions have a larger size than those stabilized with higher concentration CNC suspensions. As evidenced by the change in oil droplet morphology and size, two different emulsion formation mechanisms are proposed. For a CNC concentration of 0.6?wt.%, the extra oil added into the emulsion is accommodated by the expansion of oil droplet size, whereas for CNC concentrations of 1.2?wt.% and higher, the oil is stabilized mainly by the formation of new oil droplets.
Project description:Pea proteins are promising oil-in-water emulsifying agents at both neutral and acidic conditions. In an acidic environment, pea proteins associate to form submicrometer-sized particles. Previous studies suggested that the emulsions at acidic pH were stabilized due to a Pickering mechanism. However, protein particles can be in equilibrium with protein molecules, which could play a significant role in the stabilization of emulsion droplets. Therefore, we revisited the emulsion stabilization mechanism of pea proteins at pH 3 and investigated whether the protein particles or the protein molecules are the major emulsifying agent. The theoretical and experimental surface load of dispersed oil droplets were compared, and we found that protein particles can cover only 3.2% of the total oil droplet surface, which is not enough to stabilize the droplets, whereas protein molecules can cover 47% of the total oil droplet surface. Moreover, through removing protein particles from the mixture and emulsifying with only protein molecules, the contributions of pea protein molecules to the emulsifying properties of pea proteins at pH 3 were evaluated. The results proved that the protein molecules were the primary stabilizers of the oil droplets at pH 3.
Project description:In this experiment, the influence of the morphology and surface characteristics of cellulosic nanoparticles (i.e., cellulose nanocrystals [CNCs] and cellulose nanofibers [CNFs]) on oil-in-water (o/w) emulsion stabilization was studied using non-modified or functionalized nanoparticles obtained following deep eutectic solvent (DES) pre-treatments. The effect of the oil-to-water ratio (5, 10, and 20 wt.-% (weight percent) of oil), the type of nanoparticle, and the concentration of the particles (0.05?0.2 wt.-%) on the oil-droplet size (using laser diffractometry), o/w emulsion stability (via analytical centrifugation), and stabilization mechanisms (using field emission scanning electron microscopy with the model compound-i.e., polymerized styrene in water emulsions) were examined. All the cellulosic nanoparticles studied decreased the oil droplet size in emulsion (sizes varied from 22.5 µm to 8.9 µm, depending on the nanoparticle used). Efficient o/w emulsion stabilization against coalescence and an oil droplet-stabilizing web-like structure were obtained only, however, with surface-functionalized CNFs, which had a moderate hydrophilicity level. CNFs without surface functionalization did not prevent either the coalescence or the creaming of emulsions, probably due to the natural hydrophobicity of the nanoparticles and their instability in water. Moderately hydrophilic CNCs, on the other hand, distributed evenly and displayed good interaction with both dispersion phases. The rigid structure of CNCs meant, however, that voluminous web structures were not formed on the surface of oil droplets; they formed in flat, uniform layers instead. Consequently, emulsion stability was lower with CNCs, when compared with surface-functionalized CNFs. Tunable cellulose nanoparticles can be used in several applications such as in enhanced marine oil response.
Project description:A pyromellitic dianhydride (PMDA) and 4,4'-oxydianiline (ODA)-based oligoimide (PMDA-ODA) was synthesized by a one-step procedure using water as a solvent. The PMDA-ODA particles showed excellent partial wetting properties and were stably dispersed in both water and oil phases. A stable dispersion was not obtained with comparison PMDA-ODA particles that were synthesized by a conventional two-step method using an organic solvent. Both oil-in-water and water-in-oil Pickering emulsions were prepared using the oligoimide particles synthesized in water, and the size of the emulsion droplet was controlled based on the oligoimide particle concentration. The oligoimide particles were tested to prepare Pickering emulsions using various kinds of oils. The oil-in-water Pickering emulsions were successfully applied to prepare microcapsules of the emulsion droplets. Our new Pickering emulsion stabilizer has the advantages of easy synthesis, no need for surface modification, and the capability of stabilizing both oil-in-water and water-in-oil emulsions.
Project description:The achievement of the superlubricity regime, with a friction coefficient below 0.01, is the Holy Grail of many tribological applications, with the potential to have a remarkable impact on economic and environmental issues. Based on a combined high-resolution photoemission and soft X-ray absorption study, we report that superlubricity can be realized for engineering applications in bearing steel coated with ultra-smooth tetrahedral amorphous carbon (ta-C) under oleic acid lubrication. The results show that tribochemical reactions promoted by the oil lubrication generate strong structural changes in the carbon hybridization of the ta-C hydrogen-free carbon, with initially high sp3 content. Interestingly, the macroscopic superlow friction regime of moving mechanical assemblies coated with ta-C can be attributed to a few partially oxidized graphene-like sheets, with a thickness of not more than 1?nm, formed at the surface inside the wear scar. The sp2 planar carbon and oxygen-derived species are the hallmark of these mesoscopic surface structures created on top of colliding asperities as a result of the tribochemical reactions induced by the oleic acid lubrication. Atomistic simulations elucidate the tribo-formation of such graphene-like structures, providing the link between the overall atomistic mechanism and the macroscopic experimental observations of green superlubricity in the investigated ta-C/oleic acid tribological systems.
Project description:Lubrication of mechanical systems using water instead of conventional oil lubricants is extremely attractive from the view of resource conservation and environmental protection. However, insufficient film thickness of water due to low viscosity and chemical reaction of water with metallic materials have been a great obstacle in utilization of water as an effective lubricant. Herein, the friction between a 440?C stainless steel (SS) ball and a 440?C stainless steel (SS) plate in water lubrication could be reduced by as much as 6-times by coating the ball with reduced graphene oxide (rGO). The friction coefficient with rGO coated ball in water lubrication was comparable to the value obtained with the uncoated ball in oil lubrication. Moreover, the wear rate of the SS plate slid against the rGO coated ball in water lubrication was 3-times lower than that of the SS plate slid against the uncoated ball in oil lubrication. These results clearly demonstrated that water can be effectively utilized as a lubricant instead of oil to lower the friction and wear of SS components by coating one side with rGO. Implementation of this technology in mechanical systems is expected to aid in significant reduction of environmental pollution caused by the extensive use of oil lubricants.
Project description:Optimized concentration of reduced graphene oxide (rGO) in the lube is one of the important factors for effective lubrication of solid body contacts. At sufficiently lower concentration, the lubrication is ineffective and friction/wear is dominated by base oil. In contrast, at sufficiently higher concentration, the rGO sheets aggregates in the oil and weak interlayer sliding characteristic of graphene sheets is no more active for providing lubrication. However, at optimized concentration, friction coefficient and wear is remarkably reduced to 70% and 50%, respectively, as compared to neat oil. Traditionally, such lubrication is described by graphene/graphite particle deposited in contact surfaces that provides lower shear strength of boundary tribofilm. In the present investigation, graphene/graphite tribofilm was absent and existing traditional lubrication mechanism for the reduction of friction and wear is ruled out. It is demonstrated that effective lubrication is possible, if rGO is chemically linked with PEG molecules through hydrogen bonding and PEG intercalated graphene sheets provide sufficiently lower shear strength of freely suspended composite tribofilm under the contact pressure. The work revealed that physical deposition and adsorption of the graphene sheets in the metallic contacts is not necessary for the lubrication.