DSC (Differential Scanning Calorimetry) used to follow the evolution of W/O emulsions versus time on ground and in space in the ISS

Abstract : The evolution of W/O emulsion versus time in microgravity conditions has been studied in the framework of the FASES (Fundamental and Applied Studies on Emulsion Stability) project sponsored by the European Space Agency (ESA). The objective of this study was to investigate the evolution of W/O emulsions made of water + paraffin oil + SPAN 80® under purely diffusive conditions (no gravity driven effects) and to compare with evolution of similar emulsions observed on ground. A correlation between the state of dispersion of water and either the freezing temperature during cooling, or the freezing time at a fixed temperature was used to follow the emulsion evolution versus time. For that purpose, two identical calorimeters were built by Airbus (formerly EADS) with the support of the French company SETARAM: The Flight Model (FM) located onboard the International Space Station (ISS) and the Engineering Model (EM) located at the TELESPAZIO Centre in Naples. Dedicated cells were filled on ground with different formulations of W/O emulsions and identical experiments were performed with the FM and the EM models in order to highlight the differences in emulsion evolution. On ground, the experiments were performed by cooling and heating the calorimeter between 40 °C and −60 °C but due to technical constraints in the FM, the experiments performed in the FSL (Fluid Science Laboratory) of the ISS were limited to a lowest temperature of −22 °C. The results obtained with the FM confirmed the formation of emulsions in the dedicated cell with the selected stirring system in space. These results also demonstrated that it is possible to detect the freezing and the melting of the water droplets with the designed calorimeter either during cooling and heating phases or versus time during a temperature holding period at −22 °C. Furthermore, the comparison between both results obtained with the EM on ground and with the FM in space revealed distinct behaviours. This study drove us to focus on other mechanisms than sedimentation and convection to account for the destabilization of these kinds of emulsions.
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Audrey Drelich, Christine Dalmazzone, Isabelle Pezron, Libero Liggieri, Danièle Clausse. DSC (Differential Scanning Calorimetry) used to follow the evolution of W/O emulsions versus time on ground and in space in the ISS. Oil & Gas Science and Technology - Revue d'IFP Energies nouvelles, Institut Français du Pétrole, 2018, 73, pp.16. ⟨10.2516/ogst/2018003⟩. ⟨hal-01803773⟩

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