Uses and applications of microemulsions


Since the discovery of microemulsions, they have attained increasing significance both in basic research and in industry. Due to their unique properties, namely, ultralow interfacial tension, large interfacial area, thermodynamic stability and the ability to solubilize otherwise immiscible liquids, uses and applications of microemulsions have been numerous. The objective of this review is to present briefly the possible applications of the novel compartmentallized systems of microemulsions.

IT is well established that large amounts of two immiscible liquids (e.g. water and oil) can be brought into a single phase (macroscopically homogeneous but microscopically heterogeneous) by addition of an appropriate surfactant or a surfactant mixture. This unique class of optically clear, thermodynamically stable and usually low viscous solutions, called ‘microemulsions’1, have been the subject of extensive research over the last two decades primarily because of their scientific and technological importance. Microemulsions can have characteristic properties such as ultralow interfacial tension, large interfacial area and capacity to solubilize both aqueous and oil-soluble compounds. For detailed information one can consult several books and review articles.

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