Microfluidic production of spherical and nonspherical fat particles by thermal quenching of crystallizable oils

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Abstract

We report the microfluidic production of spherical and nonspherical fat particles from crystallizable oils. The method is based on microfluidic generation of oil droplets at a cross-junction followed by thermal solidification downstream in a microcapillary. We vary the drop production conditions and the device temperature and demonstrate that the size, shape, and crystallinity can be controlled. By measuring thermal gradients in the microcapillary, we show that crystalline fat particles are best produced when the device temperature is below the onset temperature of bulk fat crystallization. To produce monodisperse nonspherical fat particles, we find that the carrier fluid flow rate needs to be sufficiently high to provide strong hydrodynamic forces to transport the confined rod-like particles. We identify the scaling relationship between geometric confinement and particle elasticity necessary to maintain the nonspherical shape. Thus, our study provides guidelines for the production of spherical and nonspherical fat particles that can be potentially used for controlling microstructure, rheology, and drug encapsulation in foods, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical creams that employ crystallizable oils.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12307-12316
Number of pages10
JournalLangmuir
Volume29
Issue number39
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013

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