Droplet breakup mechanisms in premix membrane emulsification and related microfluidic channels

Akmal Nazir, Goran T. Vladisavljević

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    Premix membrane emulsification (PME) is a pressure driven process of droplet breakup, caused by their motion through membrane pores. The process is widely used for high-throughput production of sized-controlled emulsion droplets and microparticles using low energy inputs. The resultant droplet size depends on numerous process, membrane, and formulation factors such as flow velocity in pores, number of extrusions, initial droplet size, internal membrane geometry, wettability of pore walls, and physical properties of emulsion. This paper provides a comprehensive review of different mechanisms of droplet deformation and breakup in membranes with versatile pore morphologies including sintered glass and ceramic filters, SPG and polymeric membranes with sponge-like structures, micro-engineered metallic membranes with ordered straight-through pore arrays, and dynamic membranes composed of unconsolidated particles. Fundamental aspects of droplet motion and breakup in idealized pore networks have also been covered including droplet disruption in T-junctions, channel constrictions, and obstructed channels. The breakup mechanisms due to shear interactions with pore walls and localized shear (direct breaking) or due to interfacial tension effects and Rayleigh-Plateau instability (indirect breaking) are systematically discussed based on recent experimental and numerical studies. Non-dimensional droplet size correlations based on capillary, Weber, and Ohnesorge numbers are also presented.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number102393
    JournalAdvances in Colloid and Interface Science
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


    • Droplet breakup
    • Membrane emulsification
    • Microfluidic channel
    • Non-dimensional correlations

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Surfaces and Interfaces
    • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
    • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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