ingredient information
Emulsifiers
AAA
An emulsion is a mixture of two immiscible (unblendable) substances. One substance (the dispersed phase) is dispersed in the other (the continuous phase). Examples of emulsions include butter and margarine, espresso, mayonnaise, the photo-sensitive side of photographic film, and cutting fluid for metalworking. In butter and margarine, a continuous liquid phase surrounds droplets of water (water-in-oil emulsion). Emulsification is the process by which emulsions are prepared. Emulsions tend to have a cloudy appearance, because the many phase interfaces (the boundary between the phases is called the interface) scatter light that passes through the emulsion. Emulsions are unstable and thus do not form spontaneously. Energy input through shaking, stirring, homogenizers, or spray processes are needed to form an emulsion. Over time, emulsions tend to revert to the stable state of oil separated from water. Surface active substances (surfactants) can increase the kinetic stability of emulsions greatly so that, once formed, the emulsion does not change significantly over years of storage. Homemade oil and vinegar salad dressing is an example of an unstable emulsion that will quickly separate unless shaken continuously. This phenomenon is called coalescence, and happens when small droplets recombine to form bigger ones. Fluid emulsions can also suffer from creaming, the migration of one of the substances to the top of the emulsion under the influence of buoyancy or centripetal force when a centrifuge is used. Emulsions are part of a more general class of two-phase systems of matter called colloids. Although the terms colloid and emulsion are sometimes used interchangeably, emulsion tends to imply that both the dispersed and the continuous phase are liquid.