The Dispersion of Natural Oils in De-Gassed Water

J Colloid Interface Sci. 2006 Jul 15;299(2):673-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jcis.2006.02.055. Epub 2006 Mar 3.


Recent studies have demonstrated that pure hydrocarbon oils can be dispersed in water as fine droplets without the use of additives. The high interfacial tension between hydrocarbons and water is expected to cause cavitation between oil droplets during separation. This cavitation is aided by dissolved atmospheric gases present in both the oil and water. Their removal allows oil droplets to be readily dispersed in water. In this paper we report on the effect of the de-gassing process on the dispersion of several natural, water immiscible oils. These natural, mixed oils are eucalyptus, lavender and tea tree oil. Although these oils are mixtures and in some cases not as hydrophobic as those used in the earlier studies, the effect of de-gassing substantially enhances their dispersion, producing micron-sized droplets without the need for additives. Dispersions of these natural oils in pure water have a wide range of uses where purity is an advantage, for example, in skin cleaning products and oral sprays.