What is emulsification?

Emulsification is the formation of emulsions from two immiscible liquid phases is probably the most versatile property of surface-active agents for practical applications and, as a result, has been extensively studied.

The process of dispersing one immiscible liquid in another immiscible liquid is called emulsification. Some common emulsifying agents are detergents and soaps, etc. This process is widely carried out in industries by mechanical mixing of the ingredients of the emulsion in different types of mixers.

Some Examples of Emulsions:

  • Egg yolk – contains the emulsifying agent lecithin.
  • Butter – water in the fat emulsion.
  • Oil and water mixture.
  • Mayonnaise – an emulsion of oil in water.
  • Crema on espresso an emulsion of water and coffee oil.


An emulsifier is a substance that stabilizes an emulsion. It is also called emulgent. Surfactants such as detergents are one type of emulsifier. Surfactants are also referred to as surface-active agents.

Some examples of emulsifiers are lecithin, soy lecithin, diacetyl tartaric acid ester of mono glyceride, Mustard, sodium stearoyl lactylate, and sodium phosphates.

Aims of Emulsification

The emulsification unit operation has three specific aims. First, it has to ensure the physicochemical stability of the product. Emulsification determines the characteristic structure of the batter which greatly influences fat and moisture separation from the product during cooking.

Second, it creates a typical sensory property such as appearance, texture, flavour or noise. Finely comminuted products are defined by their smooth surface.

Emulsification Process:

Some mechanisms involved in emulsification are discussed below.

  • According to surface tension theory, emulsification is carried out by reducing the interfacial tension between the two phases.
  • According to the repulsion theory, a film is created over one phase by the emulsifying agent. The film forms globules, that repel each other. This is their cause for suspension in the dispersion medium.
  • Viscosity modification – Some emulgents like acacia, glycerine, and carboxymethyl cellulose, increase the viscosity of the medium. This helps in maintaining and creating the suspension of globules of the dispersed phase.

Emulsion Uses:

  • Usually used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, personal hygiene.
  • Microemulsions are used to deliver vaccines to kill various microbes.
  • It is used in chemical synthesis.
  • It is used in firefighting.
  • Nanoemulsions such as soybean oil are used to kill microbes.
  • Mayonnaise is an oil in water emulsion with egg yolk or sodium stearoyl lactylate.

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Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What is called emulsification?

Emulsification is called the process of mixing liquids to form an emulsion. Although the liquids forming them may be clear, emulsions appear cloudy or coloured as light is dispersed by the mixture’s suspended particles.

What is the role of emulsification?

Emulsification (indigestion) The breakdown of fat globules in duodenum into small droplets creating a larger area where the pancreatic lipase enzyme can work to digest the fat into fatty acids and glycerol. The activity of the bile salts helps to emulsify.

What is the significance of the emulsification of fat?

Emulsification is the process of breaking down the fat into smaller blood cells which makes it easy for enzymes to function and digest food. Fat emulsification helps digest fats into fatty acids and glycerol that are easily absorbed by the small intestine.

What is the difference between emulsification and digestion?

Emulsification, breaking up fat globules into much smaller emulsion droplets, greatly helps digestion. Also, a substance called bile is produced by your liver, which is secreted into the small intestine. It breaks up the fat in an emulsification cycle that effectively makes the fats water-soluble.

What is a natural emulsifier?

An emulsifier is an ingredient that binds water to oil to produce an emulsion that is just a cream or lotion fancy term. We have chosen the following ingredients because they are safe, do not separate, and after application, do not leave a shine on your skin.

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Other important links:

Types of emulsions Classification of colloids
Take up a quiz on Emulsification

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