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Ouzo effect

with water and ice]] The ouzo effect (also louche effect and spontaneous emulsification) is a milky () oil-in-water emulsion that is formed when water is added to ouzo and other , such as pastis, raki, arak, sambuca and absinthe. Such microemulsions occur with only minimal mixing and are highly stable.

Observation and explanation

and essential oils from grapefruit rinds.]] The ouzo effect occurs when a strongly hydrophobic essential oil such as trans-anethole is dissolved in a water- miscible solvent, such as ethanol, and the concentration of ethanol is lowered by addition of small amounts of water. Oil-in-water emulsions are not stable. Oil droplets coalesce until complete phase separation is achieved at macroscopic levels. Addition of a small amount of surfactant or the application of high shear rates (strong stirring) can stabilize the oil droplets. In a water-rich ouzo mixture the droplet coalescence is dramatically slowed without mechanical agitation, dispersing agents, or surfactants. It forms a stable homogeneous fluid dispersion by liquid-liquid nucleation.{{cite journal |last=Vitale |first=Stephen A. |author2=Joseph L. Katz |date=May 2003 |title=Liquid Droplet Dispersions Formed by Homogeneous Liquid-Liquid Nucleation: The Ouzo Effect |journal=Langmuir|volume=19|issue=10|pages=4105–4110 |publisher=American Chemical Society |doi=10.1021/la026842o }} The size of the droplets has been measured by small-angle neutron scattering to be on the order of a micron.{{cite journal |last=Grillo |first=Isabelle |date=September 2003 |title=Small-angle neutron scattering study of a world-wide known emulsion: Le Pastis |journal=Colloids and Surfaces A, Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects |volume=225|issue=1-3|pages=153–160 |doi=10.1016/S0927-7757(03)00331-5 |url=http://www.crmcn.univ-mrs.fr/pics/linked-files/LePastis_IGrillo.pdf |format=PDF |accessdate=2007-01-29 }} Using dynamic light scattering, Sitnikova et al. showed that the droplets of oil in the emulsion grow by Ostwald ripening, and that droplets do not coalesce. The Ostwald ripening rate is observed to diminish with increasing ethanol concentrations until the droplets stabilize in size with an average diameter of . Based on thermodynamic considerations of the multi-component mixture, the emulsion derives its stability from trapping between the binodal and spinodal curves in the phase diagram. However, the microscopic mechanisms responsible for the observed slowing of Ostwald ripening rates at increasing ethanol concentrations appear not fully understood.


Emulsions have many commercial uses. A large range of prepared food products, detergents, and body-care products take the form of emulsions that are required to be stable over a long period of time. The ouzo effect is seen as a potential mechanism for generating surfactant-free microemulsions without the need for high-shear stabilisation techniques that are costly in large-scale production processes. The creation of a variety of dispersions such as pseudolatexes, silicone emulsions, and biodegradable polymeric nanocapsules, have been synthesized using the ouzo effect, though as stated previously, the exact mechanism of this effect remains unclear.

See also


External links

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This article based upon the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouzo_effect, the free encyclopaedia Wikipedia and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
Further informations available on the list of authors and history: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ouzo_effect&action=history
presented by: Ingo Malchow, Mirower Bogen 22, 17235 Neustrelitz, Germany