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Presentation of the activity

 

Our research group studies liquid interfaces, in particular adsorption layers made of surfactants, polymers and/or nanoparticles. Such layers possess viscoelastic properties of different kind (shear, compression) with frequency-dependent elasticities and viscosities. In particular we try to correlate the surface viscoalasticity with foam and emulsion properties. We also develop microfluidic techniques in order to prepare monodisperse foams and emulsions and better understand their evolution in time.

   

The study of foams containing more than a few percent liquid is difficult on earth because of gravity-driven drainage. We are therefore in the process of preparing experiments in the International Space Station where we will benefit from a zero gravity environment (link to programs).

 

Heavy crude oils, despite of their huge viscosity, can be transported in pipelines in the form of emulsions. We try to understand why these emulsions are very stable, in order to better control the oil retrieval after transport.

 

The research group also studies liquid fims, which model the films between bubbles and drops in foams and emulsions, respectively. We have discovered and explained a film stratification due to the confinement of polymers in such films. This study is presently extended to biopolymers, in particular to DNA. We have recently observed friction anomalies in these confined environments that we are trying to clarify. Such anomalies are likely to play important roles in nanofluidic devices.

 

We are also studying mixed aqueous solutions of polyelectrolytes and surfactants of opposite charges and elucidating association scenario. These scenarios are complex and very dependent on the polymer backbone rigidity.

 

Finally, one of our new research topic is nanoparticles toxicity.