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Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2011 Feb 28;13(8):3064-72. doi: 10.1039/c0cp01152e. Epub 2010 Nov 25.

Two-mode dynamics in dispersed systems: the case of particle-stabilized foams studied by diffusing wave spectroscopy.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Physique des Solides, UMR CNRS 8502, Universit√© Paris-Sud, 91405 Orsay cedex, France.


The stabilization of aqueous foams solely by solid particles is an active field of research. Thanks to controlled particle chemistry and production devices, we are able to generate large volumes of such foams. We previously investigated some of their unique properties, especially the strongly reduced coarsening. Here we report another type of study on these foams: performing diffusing wave spectroscopy (DWS), we investigate for the first time the internal dynamics on the scales of both the particles and the bubbles. When compared to surfactant foams, unusual features are observed; in particular, two well-separated modes are found in the dynamics, both evolving with foam aging. We propose an interpretation of these specificities, taking into account both the scattering by free particles in the foam fluid (fast mode), and by the foam structure (slow mode). To validate our interpretation, we show that independent measurements of the interstitial fluid scattering length, obtained indirectly on the foam and directly on the drained liquid, are in good agreement. We have also identified the experimental conditions required to observe such two-process dynamics. Counter-intuitively, the fraction of free particles within the foam interstitial fluid has to be very low to get an optimal signature of these particles on the DWS correlation curves. This study also sheds light on the partitioning of the particles inside the foams and at the interfaces, as the foam ages. Lastly, the results shown here (obtained by analyzing the fluctuations of the transmitted light) implement the previous ones (obtained by analyzing the mean transmitted intensity), and prove that the foam structure is actually not fully frozen.

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